Art, truth and vocation: Validity and disclosure in Heidegger's anti-aesthetics

Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (2):153-172 (2002)
A central point of contention between Critical Theory and Heideggerian thinking concerns the question of truth. Whereas Martin Heidegger orients his conception of truth towards the ongoing disclosure of Being, Jürgen Habermas regards truth as one dimension of validity in 'communicative action'. Unlike Habermas, who usually emphasizes validity at the expense of disclosure, Heidegger tends to emphasize disclosure at the expense of validity. The essay uses Heidegger's 'The Origin of the Work of Art' as its point of departure. While reclaiming elements from his account of artistic truth, I criticize his reactionary conception of art's vocation, and I propose a notion of aesthetic validity that does justice to modern and contemporary art. Key Words: aesthetics • art • Critical Theory • disclosure • Jürgen Habermas • Martin Heidegger • imagination • responsibility • truth • validity.
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