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Department of Philosophy

Richard Stopford

Richard Stopford is a postdoctoral researcher.

His primary interests are Critical Theory, aesthetics and contemporary Metaphysics. He has also taught in a variety of areas including the history of modern philosophy (especially Kant and Hegel), ethics, political philosophy (especially Marx), core issues in epistemology and also in contemporary European philosophy.

He is currently working on articles in the metaphysics of aesthetics, particularly aesthetic properties and truth-makers.

Thesis Title:
Adorno's Critique of Judgement: the recovery of negativity from the philosophy of Kant and Hegel

Thesis Summary:

There are four key aims of my PhD thesis: firstly, I wish to give an account of the influence of German Idealist thought on the work of the Critical Theorist, Theodor Adorno; secondly, I wish to show that Adorno's critique of such idealists provide the resources for his own philosophical thought.  That is, Adorno theorized that the particular ways in which such idealisms unravel, provide the conditions for their own transformation into a new mode of philosophizing - negative dialectics.  Understanding negative dialectics provides the basis for the third aim of the thesis: to show that the primacy of aesthetics in Adorno's philosophy is not simply an indication of his interest in art, but is reflective of his contention that artworks pose specific problems for epistemology and metaphysics.  Adorno's guiding idea is that epistemology and metaphysics have often failed to give a satisfactory account of artworks and in understanding why that might be the case, we may discover that there are fundamental flaws in the way in which we consider epistemological and metaphysical problems.

Motivating Adorno's aesthetics in this way requires an unusual approach to his thinking.  As such, the fourth aspect of the thesis is an examination of Adorno's fundamental philosophical commitments.  Due to the difficulty, complexity and obscurity of his work, many commentators orientate themselves according to the themes that emerge from his thinking - e.g., his theories of Modernism, his critique of Enlightenment thinking, etc.  I wish to take Adorno seriously as a philosopher.  Drawing on the work of contemporary analytic metaphysicians such as John Heil, I argue that underpinning Adorno's thinking there are robust, sound metaphysical commitments which are not only coherent in themselves, they are of immediate contemporary relevance to metaphysicians and epistemologists as well as to aestheticians.  Also, this sort of analysis may help to push aesthetics closer to the centre of philosophy - but maybe that's a bridge too far!


Dr. Andy Hamilton & Prof. Max Paddison

Research Groups:


Metaphysics Reading Group



'The Transcendental Economy of Aesthetic Autonomy', Aesthetic Autonomy, Ed. O. Hulatt Continuum, Forthcoming (2013)

‘Structure of On Certainty’ (Co-authored chapter with Andy Hamilton), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and On Certainty, A. Hamilton., Routledge, Forthcoming (2013)

'A Critical Assessment of the Role of the Imagination in Kant's Exposition of the Sublime', Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 4, No.3, December 2007


Coulson, S. Adorno's Aesthetics of Critique (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007)

Philosophical Writings Issue 34, 2007

James, D. Hegel: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007)

& Redding, P. Analytic Philosophy and the Return of Hegelian Thought (CUP, 2007)

Philosophical Writings Issue 35, 2007

Holloway, J., Matamoros, F., Tischler, S. (Eds.) Negativity and Revolution: Adorno and Political Activism (Pluto Press)

Philosophical Writings Issue 36, 2007

Conference Presentations:

Adorno, Film Music and Modernism. Philosophy and FIlm, UWE, 2008

Fear and Rage in Hegel's Idealism. Durham-Bergen Conference, Durham, 2008

Brandom and Kant's Power of Judgement. Eidos, Durham, 2008

Aesthetics and Film Theory. Art Matters, The Sage, Gateshead, 2009

Adorno on the Side of Rhetoric. Adorno 40 Years On, Sussex University. 2009

In Defence of Rhetoric. Durham-Bergen Conference, Bergen University. 2009

Conceptualizing the Non-Conceptual in Adorno's Aesthetics. Eidos, Durham, 2009

Against Robert Hanna's Non-conceptualism in Kantian Aesthetics. Postgraduate Seminar, Durham, 2010.

Unlikely Alliances: Adorno and Heil and the Metaphysics of Art and Autonomy, Conference on the Autonomy, York University, 2011.

Adorno’s Critique of Nominalism, 5th Critical Theory Conference, Rome, May 2012, Loyola University.

Academic Activities and Interests:

Website Designer and Web Officer - Philosophical Writings (2010 - Date)

Departmental Web Officer - Durham University (2010 - Date)

Managing Editor - Philosophical Writings (2007 - 2010)

Peer Reviewer - Journal of Classical Sociology (2010 - Date)

Member of Gender and Sexuality Research Network

Co-Organzier of Durham-Bergen Conference (2008 & 9)

Co-Organizer of Beacon Fellowship, Art-Matters (2008)


Email Richard Stopford at r.j.stopford^at^

Postgraduate Funding Opportunities

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