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Theodor W. Adorno

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Theodor W. Adorno

Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas (in the background, right), in 1964 in Heidelberg
Full name Theodor W. Adorno
Born September 11, 1903(1903-09-11)
Frankfurt am Main, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia, Germany
Died August 6, 1969(1969-08-06) (aged 65)
Visp, Visp, Valais, Switzerland
Era 20th century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Critical theory, Marxism
Main interests Social theory, sociology, psychoanalysis, epistemology, aesthetics, musicology, mass media
Notable ideas Criticism of "actionism,"[1] modernist art opposes the conventional ordering of experience found in the mass media,[2][3] the paradox of aesthetics,[4] negative dialectics

Theodor W. Adorno (September 11, 1903 – August 6, 1969) was a German sociologist. He designed the F-scale with other researchers at the University of California. This scale tried to measure "the authoritarian personality", the "F" standing for "Fascist". He wrote about this with them in the controversial 1950 book The Authoritarian Personality. He was a Marxist.


  1. Christine Fillion, "Adorno's Marginalien zu Theorie und Praxis: In Praise of Discontinuity", Humanitas, Volume 2, Issue 1, Fall 2012.
  2. Theodor W. Adorno "Commitment", in: Andrew Arato, Eike Gebhardt (eds.), The Essential Frankfurt School Reader, Continuum, 1978, pp. 300–318 (essay translated by Francis McDonagh).
  3. Gary Day, Literary Criticism: A New History, Edinburgh University Press, 2008, p. 265.
  4. "[Art's] paradoxical task is to attest to the lack of concord while at the same time working to abolish discordance" (Adorno as quoted by James Martin Harding, Adorno and "a Writing of the Ruins", SUNY Press, 1997, p. 30; variant translation by Robert Hullot-Kentor: Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, 1997, University of Minnesota Press, p. 168: "Paradoxically, art must testify to the unreconciled and at the same time envision its reconciliation; this is a possibility only for its nondiscursive language.").