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Aesthetic truth in Adorno

Grant number: 14/14913-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2014
Effective date (End): December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Vladimir Pinheiro Safatle
Grantee:Felipe Catalani
Supervisor: Georg W. Bertram
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Freie Universität Berlin, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:11/20822-0 - Critique of subject and of logic of identity in Theodor Adorno: delineation of a negative dialectic, BP.IC


It is almost impossible to deepen in Adorno's thought and at the same time to turn aside the philosophical problems posed by aesthetics. It is worthy to remember that almost half of Adorno's complete Works is dedicated to aesthetics: from music to literature, painture, and philosophical aesthetics, this last almost never being discussed independently from its objects (the works of art), although without losing some level of generality inherent to all theory and its correspondent speculative power. Fundamental problems of the dialectics, of the critique of society, and of the critique of reason that emerge from main works such as Dialectics of Enlightenment and Negative Dialectics appear in and is nourished by the aesthetical debate, and so it is in the great and unfinished work Aesthetic Theory. It is certainly not our aim to hierarchize the philosophical problems: we do not intend to affirm that the aesthetical discussion is simply subordinated to discussions on theory of knowledge and critique of ideology, nor that these last ones are a supplement of the aesthetical reflexion, but to see how concepts that articulate these problems in constellation are equally distant from centre, as notes in Schoenberg's atonal music in relation to harmonic system. Once that the focus of our research goes from the development of the dialectic of subject and object and from a materialist comprehension of the problems of the theory of knowledge, we consider that the most adequate point of Adorno's aesthetics for us to research is the aesthetic truth, and also due to the convergence with "method" questions that we have studied in relation to immanent critique and primacy of the object. To speak about aesthetical truth today may sound outdated. Nevertheless, in view of the development of aesthetics as a form of knowledge of philosophical dignity in modernity that sought to overcome the Platonic chasm between art and truth, it is necessary to understand how some of the aesthetical categories are historically developed, though they aspire a suprahistorical knowledge. It is undeniable that Kant and Hegel are a turning point of philosophical modernity, and, according to Adorno's boutade, are the last philosophers to deal with aesthetics without understanding art. At the same time that Adorno revisits German idealism (such as in Negative Dialectics), historical experience of late capitalism as much as artistical modernism impede a mere reactualization of traditional philosophical categories. We ought then to understand how Adorno's Aesthetic Theory operates also as a "time diagnosis" that searches the historical truth of the art of its time. (AU)

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