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Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory - A Spring 2019 Lecture Series at Harvard University

Adorno and the Default Theory of Aesthetic Value


February 13, 2019
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Lower Level Conference Room, Adolphus Busch Hall Directions
February 13, 2019
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Lower Level Conference Room, Adolphus Busch Hall Directions

We are now approaching the 50th anniversary of Aesthetic Theory (first published posthumously in 1970), the final masterpiece of the philosopher and social theorist Theodor W. Adorno. This lecture contributes to the semester-long series of scholarly presentations that reflect on the legacy and actuality of this major work. (Specific Title To Be Announced.)

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The current default theory of aesthetic value combines together a hedonic commitment to pleasure as the ground of aesthetic value with a formalist commitment to the formal features of an object being what warrants pleasure. The speaker will argue that though Adorno's theory of aesthetic value similarly involves a commitment to pleasure and formalism, his understanding of the social character of art, as well as its cognitive import results in a theory that is a serious alternative to the default theory.

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