Remarks on the Riddle-Character of Art and Metaphysical Experience

  • Henry W. Pickford Duke University
Palabras clave: Theodor W. Adorno, metafísica, estética filosófica, experiencia, Kant


This essay attempts through extended textual exegesis to clarify two fundamental concepts in late Adorno’s metaphysical and philosophical-aesthetic writings respectively: “metaphysical experience” and the “riddle-character” of art. The first part of the essay explores how in Negative Dialektik Adorno reworks certain Kantian themes to provide an account metaphysical experience as the exercise of the mind’s capacity for thinking beyond the immanently given that brings happiness despite failing to attain the absolute. The second part of the essay interprets concepts from Ästhetische Theorie and related writings, including the internal/external, performative/cognitive perspectives on the artwork, and its similarity to language, to show how the riddle-character of art elicits an experience similar to metaphysical experience, in that it demonstrates the ability of mind to reach beyond its cognitive self-limitations into a response-dependent objectivity with utopian implications.


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Cómo citar
Pickford, H. W. (2020). Remarks on the Riddle-Character of Art and Metaphysical Experience. Constelaciones. Revista De Teoría Crítica, 11(11-12), 78-99. Recuperado a partir de