Philosophers who contributed to art and aesthetics

He is widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s foremost thinkers on aesthetics and philosophy, as well as one of its preeminent essayists. Amidst the vogue enjoyed by existentialism and positivism in early 20th-century Europe, Adorno advanced a dialectical conception of natural history that critiqued the twin temptations of ontology and empiricism through studies of Kierkegaard and Husserl.

As a classically trained pianist whose sympathies with the twelve-tone technique of Arnold Schoenberg resulted in his studying composition with Alban Berg of the Second Viennese School, Adorno’s commitment to avant-garde music formed the backdrop of his subsequent writings and led to his collaboration with Thomas Mann on the latter’s novel Doctor Faustus, while the two men lived in California as exiles during the Second World War.

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Working for the newly relocated Institute for Social Research, Adorno collaborated on influential studies ofauthoritarianism, anti-semitism and propaganda that would later serve as models for sociological studies the Institute carried out in post-war Germany. Upon his return to Frankfurt, Adorno was involved with the reconstitution of German intellectual life through debates with Karl Popper on the limitations of positivist science, critiques of Heidegger’s language of authenticity, writings on German responsibility for the Holocaust, and continued interventions into matters of public policy.

As a writer of polemics in the tradition of Nietzsche and Karl Kraus, Adorno delivered scathing critiques of contemporary Western culture. Adorno’s posthumously published Aesthetic Theory5, which he planned to dedicate to Samuel Beckett, is the culmination of a lifelong commitment to modern art which attempts to revoke the “fatal separation” of feeling and understanding long demanded by the history of philosophy and explode the privilege aesthetics accords to content over form and contemplation over immersion.

Virgil Charles Aldrich Born: September 13, 1903, India Died: May 28, 1998 Education: Columbia University, Ohio Wesleyan University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Oxford Virgil Charles Aldrich (September 13, 1903, Narsinghpur, India – May 28, 1998, Salt Lake City, Utah), was an American philosopher of art, language, and religion Aldrich’s first academic appointment was his appointment as an instructor in philosophy at Rice University in 1931 and Sterling Fellow at Yale University in 1931-32.

Promoted to assistant professor, he remained at Rice until 1942, when he was appointed visiting professor at Columbia University from 1942 to 1946. Appointed professor of philosophy at Kenyon College in 1946, he remained there until 1965, serving as visiting professor at Brown University in 1962-63. In 1965, he became professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he remained until his retirement in 1972. On his retirement, he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he became an adjunct professor at the University of Utah.

Aldrich served as Director of the Kyoto American Studies Institute in Japan and for short periods was visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas. He served as trustee and president of the American Society of Aesthetics and president of American Philosophical Association. Books: Language and philosophy ([Kyoto]: Kyoto American Studies Seminar, 1955) Philosophy of Art, (Englewood Cliffs, N. J. , Prentice-Hall, 1963) The Body of a Person, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988)