The Cambridge Companion to Adorno (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
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The great German philosopher and aesthetic theorist Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903-1969) was one of the main philosophers of the first generation of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. As an accomplished musician, Adorno originally focused on the theory of culture and art. He later turned to the problem of the self-defeating dialectic of modern reason and freedom. A distinguished roster of Adorno specialists explores the full range of his contributions to philosophy, history, music theory, aesthetics and sociology in this collection of essays.
it is the philosophical Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 Dissonant Works and the Listening Public 225 critic’s role to show how it does, though how it does might con- tradict what the composer thinks he is doing. It was not only an anti-intentionalism that inspired Adorno but also his belief that the modernist role of the philosophical critic was to interpret and articu- late for music a meaning (a social and philosophical one) that would otherwise remain
metaphysics’ ‘sub- jectification of being’. Once this position is adopted, it necessarily provides the framework for the rest of Adorno’s assessment of the meaning of modern music, with the attendant problems we have already considered. More specifically, it makes necessary the idea that ‘the idealist “system” in Beethoven is tonality in the specific function it gains in him’. In Beethoven, tonality is therefore ‘abstract identity’ (B, 40/17), and, after a more complex argument, it is
aus dem besch ädigten Leben (Berlin: Suhrkamp). In 1931 Horkheimer took over the leadership of the six-year-old Institute for Social Research; the Institute was associated with the University of Frankfurt, though, because of its endowment, it operated as a relatively independent research in- stitution. The Institute undertook research into issues relating to eco- nomics and the social sciences on the basis of a scientific Marxism. Horkheimer’s 1937 essay is of particular interest because in
musical compositions, including piano songs, string quartets, and orchestra pieces. A great part of his oeuvre is made up of writings primarily concerned with music, compositions, and composers. Of the twenty some volumes in his com- plete writings, only three contain works on sociology in the strictest sense, but two volumes in the sociology of literature, culture, and art supplement these. His philosophical publications comprise seven vol- umes. While it is possible to speak of a major
founda- tion which at the same time is to point out the absolute or cate- gorical validity of moral principles. Adorno, on the other hand, like Nietzsche, belongs to the second tradition, which, along Schiller’s line, undertakes a questioning of morality focusing on its conse- quences. Nietzsche and likewise Adorno want to show what moral norms and practices mean for individuals and, even more, how they might damage their lives. This is the common starting point between Adorno and