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The Fleeting Promise of ArtAdorno's Aesthetic Theory Revisited$
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Peter Uwe Hohendahl

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452369

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452369.001.0001

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Human Freedom and the Autonomy of Art

Human Freedom and the Autonomy of Art

The Legacy of Kant

(p.33) 1 Human Freedom and the Autonomy of Art
The Fleeting Promise of Art

Peter Uwe Hohendahl

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Immanuel Kant's impact on Theodor Adorno by focusing on his Third Critique, which is reflected both in Adorno's repeated lecture courses on aesthetics and in Aesthetic Theory. Before discussing Adorno's complicated relationship to the philosophical tradition in the arena of aesthetics, the chapter considers Adorno's assessment of Kant's Critique of Judgment and the importance of Kant's text for Adorno. It then looks at Adorno's lectures on the Critique of Pure Reason, along with Adorno's interest in the Critique of Judgment and his persistent return to Kant after World War II. It suggests that what makes Kant's effort truly significant in Adorno's eyes is the epistemological implications—the fact that Kant grounded the quest for the judgment of taste by linking it with the fundamental questions of the First Critique. It also highlights Adorno's appreciation of Kant's rigorous formalism and his presentation of Kant's theory as an outdated form of aesthetics that could not do justice to modern art.

Keywords:   modern art, Immanuel Kant, Theodor Adorno, Third Critique, aesthetics, Aesthetic Theory, Critique of Judgment, Critique of Pure Reason, judgment of taste, First Critique

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