This empirical study examines how philosophical work on the sublime relates to contemporary psychological work on awe. We operationalized several aspects of the sublime drawing from prominent philosophical theories and analyzed them in relation to three different measures of awe: the modified Differential Emotions Scale (mDES), the awe sub-scale of the Dispositional Positive Emotion Scale (DPES), and the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S). We carried out an Exploratory Factor Analysis on our items on the sublime. We found high correlations between these items and the measures of awe, especially with the self-loss and connectedness dimensions of the AWE-S. By operationalizing aspects of the sublime drawn from influential philosophical theories and comparing them with psychological measures of awe, we find a large degree of overlap between awe and the sublime, suggesting that these two literatures could inform one another.
- empirical aesthetics
- factor analysis