Oklahoma City University | Professor Releases Book about Art and… Skip to content

Professor Releases Book about Art and Philosophy

by Rod Jones

An Oklahoma City University philosophy professor recently released a book titled “The Aesthetic Ground of Critical Theory” about art and how it relates to critical thinking.

Professor Nathan Ross served as the editor for the book’s collection of 12 essays by scholars from five different countries on the philosophies of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. Ross has two essays of his own in the book.

Benjamin and Adorno were two prominent Jewish-German philosophers who resisted the rise of fascism in Germany in the World War II era. Benjamin died fleeing the Nazis in 1940, while Adorno moved to California and became a music critic and social critic in the post-war period.

“The Aesthetic Ground of Critical Theory” examines the ways in which these two philosophers turned to modern art for new ways of thinking and critical insights into modern culture. In the post-war era, Adorno coined the term “culture industry” as a way to capture the conformism and standardization enforced by products of popular culture. In opposition to this, the critical theorists argue that people need challenging and unsettling artworks in order to activate their capacity for critical introspection.

"The Aesthetic Ground of Critical Theory” is published by Rowman & Littlefield International.Rowman & Littlefield International is a new independent academic publisher in philosophy, politics, international relations and cultural studies, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches.

Ross is a member of the philosophy department at OCU, where he teaches a variety of classes on ethics, history of philosophy and political philosophy. His research focuses mostly on German philosophy and the intersection between art and philosophy. His first book, on the philosophy of Hegel, was published by Rutledge in 2008 and he has published in journals such as Philosophy Today, Epoché and the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal.

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