Theodor Adorno’s philistine functions as the other of art, or as the ideal embodiment of everything that the bourgeois aesthetic subject is not. He insists on the truth-content of the derogation, while recognising its unjust social foundation, and seeking to reflect that tension in a self-critical turn. His model of advanced art is negatively delimited by the philistinism of art with a cause and the philistinism of art for enjoyment, which represent the poles of the aesthetic and the social. The philistine is also the counterpart to the connoisseur, with the interplay between them pointing to his preferred approach to aesthetics, in which an affinity for art and alienness to it are combined without compromise. However, Adorno fails to realise fully the critical potential of the philistine as the immanent negation of art and aesthetics.
AdornoTheodor1970–1986Gesammelte Schriften in zwanzig Bänden edited by RolfTiedemann with the assistance of Gretel Adorno Susan Buck-Morss and Klaus Schultz Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
Adorno, Theodor1970–1986, Gesammelte Schriften in zwanzig Bänden, edited by RolfTiedemann, with the assistance of Gretel Adorno, Susan Buck-Morss and Klaus Schultz, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
AdornoTheodor2009  ‘On the Current Relationship between Philosophy and Music’ in Night Music: Essays on Music 1928–1962 edited by RolfTiedemann translated by WielandHobanLondon: Seagull Books.
Adorno, Theodor2009 , ‘On the Current Relationship between Philosophy and Music’, in Night Music: Essays on Music 1928–1962, edited by RolfTiedemann, translated by WielandHoban, London: Seagull Books.
AdornoTheodor and MaxHorkheimer2002 Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments edited by GunzelinSchmid Noerr translated by EdmundJephcottStanford: Stanford University Press.
Adorno, Theodor and MaxHorkheimer2002 , Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, edited by GunzelinSchmid Noerr, translated by EdmundJephcott, Stanford: Stanford University Press.