Natural Beauty by Adorno: in Dependence and Opposition to the World of Domination

Peter Brezňan


Th. W. Adorno’s aesthetics represents a comprehensive reflection on a number of important topics in aesthetic research. Among them is the issue of the aesthetic experience generated by the beauty of nature. In the perspective of Adorno’s theory, the experience of natural beauty is described as a quality that forms in an immanent relation to the historical and social reality of humans. In the first place, one can observe the fundamental dependence of natural beauty on the degree of social domination of nature. By failing to reflect on this social mediation, the experience of natural beauty appears to be immediate and creates the deceptive fantasy of the primordial form of nature. At the same time, however, Adorno uncovers a positive potential in the experience of natural beauty – it lies in the ability to transcend a power-based subjectivity that reduces reality to the substrate of the domination. By means of the transcendence of subjectivity, the experience of natural beauty opens up the possibility to perceive and approach reality in the unreduced fullness of its qualities while also anticipating a reconciliation of man with nature in an allegorical way. The aim of my study is to describe the sketched aspects of the experience of natural beauty.


Adorno, natural beauty, domination, mediation, reconciliation.

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ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia

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