Biography of Theodor Adorno


Theodor Wisengrund Adorno was born in Frankfurt on September 11, 1903 as Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund. He decided to make his surname his middle name and take on his mother’s maiden name.

Adorno is generally regarded as the most brilliant and yet the most obscure of the first generation of the ‘Frankfurt School’. He was director of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research from 1958 until the year of his death (1969).

He wrote ‘Negative Dialectics’ in 1966, in which he argues that all philosophers have made the mistake of seeking an absolute starting point in epistemology and metaphysics, whereas no such ‘primacy’ exists.

A full and clear account of Adorno’s life and work can be found at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Theodor Adorno died in Zermatt im Wallis, Valais, Switzerland on 7 August 1969.


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