'The residues of freedom,… tendencies toward true humanism': thoughts on the role of the humanities at the beginning of the twentyfirst century


Theodor Adorno
Art And Society
Immanuel Kant
The Critique Of Judgement


Remarks from Kant’s third critique, “The Critique of Judgement”, are taken as guidelines to develop a view on works of art as vessels of knowledge and judgements about what the world appears to be, can be and ought to be. In itself, Kant’s remarks amount to a justification of the study of the arts, i.e. it is for the sake of a world where human beings may experience other human beings as companions in the project to sustain human life. The viability of such an endeavour is borne out by, for example, a recent performance of Beethoven in a most adverse context, and by the fact of international treaties in the past decade against some of the most serious violations of human rights. These treaties could not have been possible were it not for the artistic explorations of the tragedies of these violations.

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