The Cosmological Aesthetic Worldview in Van Gogh's Late Landscape Paintings


  • Erman Kaplama University of the South Pacific


Van Gogh, Heidegger, Kant, Nietzsche, Heraclitus, Sublime, Dionysian, Fire, Motion, Transition, Phusis, Logos, Ethos, Beauty


Some artworks are called sublime because of their capacity to move human imagination in a different way than the experience of beauty. The following discussion explores how Van Gogh's The Starry Night along with some of his other late landscape paintings accomplish this peculiar movement of imagination thus qualifying as sublime artworks. These artworks constitute examples of the higher aesthetic principles and must be judged according to the cosmological-aesthetic criteria for they manage to generate a transition between ethos and phusis and present them in unity. Here, referring to Heraclitean, Kantian, Nietzschean and Heideggerian metaphysics and aesthetics, I propose that the principles of motion and transition be the new cosmologic-aesthetic categories for the judgment of sublime artworks as well as for the understanding of the world (Weltanschauung) they represent.

Author Biography

Erman Kaplama, University of the South Pacific

Erman Kaplama is currently lecturing in philosophy, ethics, and governance at the University of the South Pacific. He was previously the Head of School of Social Sciences and Assistant Professor at Fiji National University. He holds a PhD in humanities and cultural studies from the University of London's Birkbeck College, an MSc in political theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in political science from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He is the author of Cosmological Aesthetics through the Kantian Sublime and Nietzschean Dionysian




How to Cite

Kaplama, E. (2016). The Cosmological Aesthetic Worldview in Van Gogh’s Late Landscape Paintings. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 12(1), 218–237. Retrieved from