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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter focuses on Dewey’s claim that art should be viewed as a model of full, unrestricted human experience. Art, in this sense, is supposed to serve as a cognitive correction of certain key trends in modernity, including the transformation of experience in line with social and scientific requirements of abstraction, quantification, and instrumentality. Drawing on Adorno’s competing account, it is argued that Dewey’s position does not sufficiently grant art autonomy and that modern art, in particular, does not offer a direct alternative to the forms of experiential deformation identified by Dewey. Unlike Dewey, Adorno views art as radically separated from the everyday and able to offer insight only in an indirect, self-negating manner. Despite the many similarities between the two thinkers, the chapter argues that Dewey did not respond with sufficient care to aesthetic modernism, which by and large resisted the organicism he attributes to art in general.

Keywords: Dewey, experience, art, aesthetic modernism, art autonomy, modernity

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