By Brian O’Connor

The basically philosophical issues of Theodor W. Adorno’s destructive dialectic would appear to be a long way faraway from the concreteness of serious conception; Adorno’s philosophy considers possibly the main conventional topic of “pure” philosophy, the constitution of expertise, while serious conception examines particular elements of society. yet, as Brian O’Connor demonstrates during this hugely unique interpretation of Adorno’s philosophy, the adverse dialectic may be obvious because the theoretical starting place of the reflexivity or severe rationality required via severe conception. Adorno, O’Connor argues, is dedicated to the “concretion” of philosophy: his thesis of nonidentity makes an attempt to teach that fact isn't reducible to appearances. This lays the basis for the utilized “concrete” critique of appearances that's necessary to the opportunity of serious theory.

To explicate the context during which Adorno’s philosophy operates—the culture of recent German philosophy, from Kant to Heidegger—O’Connor examines intimately the information of those philosophers in addition to Adorno’s self-defining alterations with them. O’Connor discusses Georg Lukács and the impact of his “protocritical theory” on Adorno’s concept; the weather of Kant’s and Hegel’s German idealism appropriated by way of Adorno for his concept of subject-object mediation; the concern of the thing and the business enterprise of the topic in Adorno’s epistemology; and Adorno’s very important reviews of Kant and the phenomenology of Heidegger and Husserl, reviews that either light up Adorno’s key thoughts and show his building of severe thought via an engagement with the issues of philosophy.

“Brian O’Connor has produced a chic and persuasive protection of the epistemological center of Adorno’s philosophy: the concern of the item for the potential for event. His research of Adorno’s transcendental procedure is novel and tough. a useful contribution to Adorno studies.” —J. M. Bernstein, writer of Adorno: Disenchantment and Ethics

“Brian O’Connor has crafted a well timed and strong contribution to the continuing reception of Adorno’s paintings. He presents a far wanted and awfully lucid remedy of Adorno’s relevant matters with the character of the thing of expertise and the form of subjectivity, with particular connection with the achievements of Kant and Hegel, round and in which Adorno positioned his personal project.” —Tom Huhn, university of visible Arts, New York

“O’Connor takes Adorno heavily as a thinker, instead of in regards to the philosophy as a trifling epiphenomenon of the social thought. Taking complete account of vital fresh paintings in German, he additionally brings a transparent and analytical intelligence to the dissection and reconstruction of a few of Adorno’s vital arguments. O’Connor’s learn makes Adorno’s very important and particular contributions to epistemology and metaphysics more durable than ever to ignore.” —Simon Jarvis, collage of Cambridge, writer of Adorno: A severe Introduction

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Additional info for Adorno’s Negative Dialectic: Philosophy and the Possibility of Critical Rationality (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought)

Sample text

The Lukácsian moment in Adorno, then, is precisely the view that forms of philosophy are manifestations of the forms of rationality 13 Introduction that are constitutive of social life. The forms of social rationality are not neutral in the sense of being ahistorical laws of thought: rather they are rules of thinking and of organization that society itself sanctions. Rationality, then, has a normative basis in precisely this respect, and on that basis the critique of philosophy as the product of this rationality must entail the critique of rationality in the broader sense.

6 Having considered the Refutation of Idealism I will then turn to the Antinomies section of the Critique of Pure Reason. My reading of the Doctrine of the Antinomies argues that this doctrine is highly relevant to Adorno in that it gives him the substance of the transcendental theory that becomes so evident in his work. For Kant, failure to work within strictly defined structures of experience leads to antinomy. Adorno adapts this theory to the needs of his theory of subject-object reciprocity.

Adorno notes that “identity thinking says what something comes under, what it exemplifies or represents and what, accordingly, it is not itself” (ND 152/149). But what happens here is that concepts are hypostatized: “Like the thing, the material tool, which is held on to in different situations as the same thing, and hence divides the world as chaotic, many-sided, and disparate from the known, one, and identical, the concept is the ideal tool, fit to do service for everything, wherever it can be applied” (DA 56–57/39).

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