Mimesis in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory

Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry 4 (8):1-10 (2009)
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Abstract

The essay focuses on the concept of mimesis Theodor W. Adorno developed in his Aesthetic Theory. After outlining key motifs of Adorno’s critical theory so as to provide the overall intellectual context, it explains why for Adorno mimesis enacts an ethical relation to the (non-identical) other. Mimesis for Adorno, the paper suggests, counters the violence that reason inflicts on the objects of its cognition by reconstituting the latter in terms of reason’s concepts. The essay discusses mimesis also in relation to other aesthetic concepts that dialectically interanimate in Adorno’s explication. It ends with very provisional thoughts on the possibilities, or lack thereof, Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory offers for the aesthetic practices of historically marginalized constituencies.

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