Adorno (The Routledge Philosophers)
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Theodor W. Adorno (1903-69) was one of the foremost philosophers and social theorists of the post-war period. Crucial to the development of Critical Theory, his highly original and distinctive but often difficult writings not only advance questions of fundamental philosophical significance, but provide deep-reaching analyses of literature, art, music sociology and political theory.
In this comprehensive introduction, Brian O’Connor explains Adorno’s philosophy for those coming to his work for the first time, through original new lines of interpretation. Beginning with an overview of Adorno’s life and key philosophical views and influences, which contextualizes the intellectual environment in which he worked, O’Connor assesses the central elements of Adorno’s philosophy.
He carefully examines Adorno’s distinctive style of analysis and shows how much of his work is a critical response to the various forms of identity thinking that have underpinned the destructive forces of modernity. He goes on to discuss the main areas of Adorno’s philosophy: social theory, the philosophy of experience, metaphysics, morality and aesthetics; setting out detailed accounts of Adorno’s notions of the dialectic of Enlightenment, reification, totality, mediation, identity, nonidentity, experience, negative dialectics, immanence, freedom, autonomy, imitation and autonomy in art. The final chapter considers Adorno’s philosophical legacy and importance today.
Including a chronology, glossary, chapter summaries, and suggestions for further reading, Adorno is an ideal introduction to this demanding but important thinker, and essential reading for students of philosophy, literature, sociology and cultural studies.
this process of correction involves the surrendering of beliefs in which we make the kind of investment which can only painfully be abandoned. Hence he describes it as a process in which ‘consciousness suﬀers this violence at its own hands: it spoils its own limited satisfaction’ (Hegel 1977: 51). Experience, with its dynamic of self-correction, has implications not only for the knowing subject and its catalogue of beliefs and concepts. The object which is the focus of the enquiry is also
of meaning’ (ND 12) he might be taken to suggest that ‘reﬂection’ would lead us to consider judgment rather than concept as that unit. It is, it seems, only within judgment that concepts take on that function of meaning ‘beyond themselves’. The non-conceptual dimension of objects is principally what Adorno is thinking of when he speaks about the nonidentity of our concepts and object. It is fair to say, though, that Adorno does not develop a systematic theory of nonidentity and nor does the above
they are nevertheless also freely chosen. The rational agent is one who can act without pathological motivations and on the grounds of, what Kant calls, pure practical reason. Autonomy in this philosophical sense entails the operation of the reﬂective capacities of the agent since it is only through reﬂection and Freedom and morality 111 deliberation that an individual can come to possess reasons for action. Adorno, among many others, oﬀers a number of criticisms of the philosophical theory –
Published eventually in 1956, in heavily revised form, as The Metacritique of Epistemology (though the existing English translation is called Against Epistemology), it is a more conventional enterprise than the Kierkegaard book. Echoing the ﬁrst Habilitationsschrift, Adorno attempted to reveal the antinomies of a philosophical system that fails to accommodate itself to the material conditions of experience. All in all, Oxford was not a happy place for Adorno. Separated from his ﬁancée Margarete
commitment guides Adorno’s own philosophical approach or style. By style I do not mean a mannerism or idiosyncrasy, but rather how Adorno, in his writings, thinks through philosophical problems. Adorno’s texts are his eﬀorts to develop, without a system, the appropriate concepts for speciﬁc topics and to deal with them in their particularity. And his position on any given topic is the totality of those concepts. The positioning of those concepts around the matter under analysis is a