Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund

(1903-69)
A leading member of the Frankfurt School of Social Research, who worked in America during the Second World War, returning to West Germany after the allied victory. He was a man of immense learning, and complex, often obscure and difficult ideas. His work covered aesthetic theory, literary and musical theory, general cultural criticism, social psychology, and philosophy. For the sociologist, his major work was (with numerous others) The Authoritarian Personality (1950), a (much criticized) empirical and theoretical investigation into the psychological roots of authoritarianism.
In the face of modern culture, he was concerned at the outset to avoid the subjectivism of existentialism and easy objectivism of positivism , but this modified as he became more pessimistic about the modern world. His aesthetic and cultural criticism and his philosophy became increasingly concerned with form rather than content: the form of a work of art, or of a system of ideas, offered the clearest demonstration of the limits and contradictions imposed upon us by society, as well as of the possibilities it offers. His own difficult style was allegedly an attempt to avoid what he saw as the false integration of modern industrial society. Perhaps his clearest statement of his view of modernity can be found in Minima Moralia (1951), a collection of aphorisms, which state that the notion of totality was once part of a liberating philosophy, but over the last century has been absorbed into a totalizing social system , a real or potentially totalitarian regime. Against this we must not seek knowledge, but emphasize paradox and ambiguity; temporarily, at least, truth might lie in the experience of the individual.
For examples of his cultural criticism see Prisms (1955), and for his philosophy Negative Dialectics (1966). For a critique which characterizes his work as-among other things-a pretentious, obscure, sterile, and increasingly desperate borrowing of ideas uncritically from a succession of earlier failed Marxisms, see volume three of’s Main Currents of Marxism (1981). See also authoritarian personality ; critical theory.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — ▪ German philosopher and music critic born Sept. 11, 1903, Frankfurt am Main, Ger. died Aug. 6, 1969, Visp, Switz.       German philosopher who also wrote on sociology, psychology, and musicology.       Adorno obtained a degree in philosophy from …   Universalium

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  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — (1903–69)    German philosopher. Adorno was born in Frankfurt am Main. His father was a German Jew and his mother an Italian Catholic. He started his career teaching philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, but moved to England and subsequently …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Adorno, Theodor (Wiesengrund) — born Sept. 11, 1903, Frankfurt am Main, Ger. died Aug. 6, 1969, Visp, Switz. German philosopher. He immigrated to England in 1934 to escape Nazism. He lived for 10 years in the U.S. (1938–48) before returning to Frankfurt, where he taught and… …   Universalium

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — (1903 69)    German philosopher and sociologist. He taught at the University of Frankfurt in 1931 and later lived in the US. In 1949 he returned to Germany, where he served as director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno — Theodor W. Adorno (rechts) zusammen mit Max Horkheimer (1965) Theodor W. Adorno (eigentlich Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno; * 11. September 1903 in Frankfurt am Main; † 6. August 1969 in Visp, Schweiz) war ein deutsche …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ADORNO, THEODOR W. — ADORNO, THEODOR W. (1903–1969), German philosopher, sociologist, composer. As a sociologist (in conjunction with max horkheimer et al.) he developed the Critical Theory of society (the so called Frankfurt School project) and published treatises… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Adorno, Theodor — (1903 1969)    social theorist and musicologist; a key associate of Frankfurt s Institut fur Sozialforschung. He was born in Frank furt, where his father was a Jewish wine merchant (born Wiesengrund, Theodor adopted his mother s maiden name,… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

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  • Theodor Adorno — Theodor Adorno, 1965, Heidelberg. Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (11 de septiembre de 1903, Fráncfort, (Alemania) 6 de agosto de 1969, Viège, Suiza), fue un filósofo alemán que también escribió sobre sociología, psicología y musicología. Se le …   Wikipedia Español

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