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The Theory of Natural Beauty and Its Evil Star: Kant, Hegel, Adorno

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In the aftermath of Kant, that is, with Schelling and Hegel, the natural beautiful is no longer a major concern of aesthetic theory. According to Adorno, an evil star hangs over the theory of natural beauty. The essay examines the reasons for this neglect of the beautiful of nature by confronting Kant's account of natural beauty with Hegel's theory about the fundamental deficiencies of beauty in nature and locates them in the essential indeterminacy of everything that belongs to nature. Inquiring into what Adorno seeks to achieve by playing Kant and Hegel off against one another, it is shown that this indeterminacy of nature is both an index of nature's interconnectedness with mythical violence and the promise of a freedom from myth.


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