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Volume 15, Issue 2, Fall/Automne 2011

Xander Selene
Pages 150-170

A Philosophy that Imitates Art?
Theodor W. Adorno’s Changing Constellations

Theodor W. Adorno claims that a philosophy that tried to imitate art would defeat itself, yet he seems to have based his own model for philosophical interpretation, which he compares to changing constellations, on Gustav Mahler’s musical montage (the first Ländler from the second movement of the Ninth Symphony.) The paper first examines two aspects of montage that Adorno mentions in his reading of the Ländler: (1) its reified working material and (2) its combinatory procedure. Next, these aspects are located within the interpretive model advanced in the inaugural lecture of 1931. The latter part of the paper makes a case for the philosophically binding force of constellations by drawing on the concepts of aesthetic semblance [ästhetischer Schein] and praxis.

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