Aesthetic Theory (Bloomsbury Revelations) by Theodor W. Adorno

By Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor Adorno (1903-69) was once certainly the major philosopher of the Frankfurt tuition, the influential workforce of German thinkers that fled to the U.S. within the Nineteen Thirties, together with such thinkers as Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer. His paintings has proved drastically influential in sociology, philosophy and cultural conception. Aesthetic thought is Adorno's posthumous magnum opus and the fruits of a lifetime's research. Analysing the elegant, the gruesome and the attractive, Adorno indicates how such strategies body and distil human event and that it really is human adventure that eventually underlies aesthetics. In Adorno's formula 'art is the sedimented historical past of human misery'.

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We can also interpret nature as expressing an idea since interpreting an object as expressing does not require us to postulate an intentional creator. Also we can interpret nature as if intentional (purposive) (KU 5: 306, 185). ” (KU 5: 302, 181) We can appreciate the beauty of trees by seeing them as “majestic and magnificent” or the beauty of the fields by seeing them as “smiling and joyful” (KU 5: 354, 354). Or quite generally, we can observe the “cipher by means of which nature speaks to us in its beautiful forms” (KU 5: 301, 180).

For example an artwork might express a range of human emotions (often examples that Kant uses) by representing persons with outward demeanor characteristic of persons having those emotions. I would be hard pressed to call such a technique one of symbolism. In spite of these misgivings, Kant’s broad characterization of expression of aesthetic ideas seems plausible enough. An aesthetic idea is a “representation of the imagination that occasions much thinking” (KU 5: 314, 192). Or ex- The Doctrine of Aesthetic Ideas 29 pression of an aesthetic idea is “something else, which gives the imagination cause to spread itself over a multitude of related representations, which let one think more than one can express in a concept determined by words” (KU 5: 315, 193).

In fact, Kant goes so far as to argue that expression of ideas is not just a way of organizing a manifold to meet the rule-governed requirement, but the only appropriate way for artistic creation: To be rich and original in ideas is not as necessary for the sake of beauty as is the suitability of the imagination in its freedom to the lawfulness of the understanding. For all the richness of the former produces, in its lawless freedom, nothing but nonsense; the power of judgment, however, is the faculty for bringing it in line with the understanding.

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