Adorno on Nature

Adorno on Nature

Deborah Cook

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1844652629

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Decades before the environmental movement emerged in the 1960s, Adorno condemned our destructive and self-destructive relationship to the natural world, warning of the catastrophe that may result if we continue to treat nature as an object that exists exclusively for our own benefit. "Adorno on Nature" presents the first detailed examination of the pivotal role of the idea of natural history in Adorno's work. A comparison of Adorno's concerns with those of key ecological theorists - social ecologist Murray Bookchin, ecofeminist Carolyn Merchant, and deep ecologist Arne Naess - reveals how Adorno speaks directly to many of today's most pressing environmental issues. Ending with a discussion of the philosophical conundrum of unity in diversity, "Adorno on Nature" also explores how social solidarity can be promoted as a necessary means of confronting environmental problems.














self-reflection Moleschott, J. 166n25 Montaigne, M. 94 moral realism 147, 171n11; see also Bernstein, intrinsic value Moss, L. 170n33 Müller-Doohm, S. 175n2 mysticism 132, 158, 178n1; see also Naess myth 20–21, 43, 67–8, 156, 175n8; see also enlightenment Naess, A. 124–34 narcissism 50, 99–100, 113, 115, 118, 131, 141–2, 180n23 narrative 142–4, 149, 151, 180n17; see also Merchant Nash, R. 175n11 natural history 1–3, 8–9, 15–31, 33, 46, 47, 91, 103, 105; see also Benjamin, Freud,

freedom, for whose sake he denies the affinity” (ND 265). Freedom presupposes the ability to act, but individuals can act only because they are also material, physical things, inhabiting specific social and historical contexts. If something lies beyond our concepts, which concepts cannot fully grasp, Adorno stresses the object’s preponderance in a decidedly un Kantian fashion when he states that the qualities we experience in things (colours, tastes, smells, etc.) are not entirely subjective.

is derived from “the always practical, always eventful, always political struggle for the elimination of injustice” (2005: 303). Non-identity thinking involves the determinate negation of existing states of affairs; it relies for its critical force on ideas that have been forged in resistance to damaged life. These ideas may include the resistive concepts that emerged in the struggles waged by women to emancipate themselves from patriarchy. As Horkheimer and Adorno had already observed in

Indeed, the dictatorial leadership of the old Soviet bloc has a Western counterpart in hierarchically organized groups led by charismatic or authoritarian leaders. Alluding to Habermas’s The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere in “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis”, Adorno observed that discussions in activist groups are frequently corrupted by strategic manoeuvres. In principle, of course, all members of a group should be given a fair hearing and contribute equally to decision-making.

among its subjects” (ibid.: 119). This point is also made in “Kann das Publikum Wollen?” The public wills only “what has already been imposed upon it”. Its identification with what perpetuates its political immaturity must “be broken, and the weak ego … built up” before opinion- and will-formation become autonomous (1986: 343). Bookchin’s claims about the prospects for establishing a viable public sphere seem unwarranted. For on his own account, capitalism, with its distinctive and deeply

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