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Picture of Adorno’s Aesthetics of Critique

Adorno’s Aesthetics of Critique

Author(s): Shea Coulson

Book Description

Adorno's Aesthetics of Critique examines Theodor Adorno's mode of critique from the perspective of his aesthetics. This has two purposes. The first purpose is to determine the effect of the primary importance Adorno places on aesthetics in his philosophy as a whole and to determine how this primacy influences the way in which he reads the philosophical tradition. The second purpose is to understand the role of aesthetics in critical thinking generally and to reinvigorate Adorno's understanding of the subjective and objective dimensions of critique. The ultimate aim is to promote new interpretations of Adorno and to reassert his relevance for constructing effective modes of critical thinking.

The book proceeds through four main chapters that focus on four different dimensions of Adorno's thought: knowledge, history, culture, and art. The first chapter uses Adorno's aesthetic theory to re-read his interpretation of Kant's subject-object dynamic. This grounds the second chapter, on history, which proceeds through an analysis of Adorno's reading of Hegel. The third chapter uses the philosophical grounding of the first two to explore how knowledge and history interact within society as fundamental dimensions of "culture". The scope and meaning of culture and its relevance for critique form the primary focus of this chapter. The fourth chapter turns to art to highlight the relationship between the critical and artistic dimensions of aesthetics in order to facilitate a dialogue between them. This serves the purpose of asserting and outlining the relevance of aesthetics for critical thought in the humanities and social sciences, which forms the crux of the book.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8377-4
ISBN-10: 1-84718-377-8
Date of Publication: 01/12/2007
Pages / Size: 175 / A5
Price: £29.99


Shea Coulson is studying law at the University of British Columbia in Canada and expects to be called to the British Columbia bar in 2010. He holds an M.A.
in Theory and Criticism from the University of Western Ontario and a B.A. Honours in English Literature from the University of Toronto. Shea is the author of "Funnier Than Unhappiness: Adorno and the Art of Laughter" published in New German Critique's Winter 2007 issue (#100).