Adorno's Positive Dialectic

Adorno's Positive Dialectic

Yvonne Sherratt

Language: English

Pages: 270

ISBN: 052181393X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book offers a radically new interpretation of the work of Theodor Adorno. In contrast to the conventional view that Adorno's is in essence a critical philosophy, Yvonne Sherratt systematically traces an utopian thesis that pervades all the major aspects of Adorno's thought. She places Adorno's work in the context of German Idealist and later Marxist and Freudian traditions, and then analyzes his key works to show how the aesthetic, epistemological, psychological, historical and sociological thought interconnect to form an utopian image.


















psychoanalysis – meant that Adorno’s adherence to enlightenment, and its critique, took on a distinct form from the Kantian one. ii. philosophies of history In the following part of this Prelude, we continue to examine Adorno’s further influences, the post-Kantian philosophy of Hegel, Marx, Lukacs, and the Early Frankfurt School. Although there are many currents emanating from this rich tradition, perhaps two elements stand out in their centrality, first, the development of Hegel’s philosophy

primitive condition simply wishes and then satisfies its instincts upon these wishes. In the ‘adult’ self this process can also occur. The adult self projects its wishes outward. It either projects them onto an external Object ‘converting it’ into what the id would wish it to be, or its wishes reside within the imagination without forming an attachment to any external Object. The ‘Objects’ of these wishes are illusions. They are the Subject’s projections generated from the id’s own impulses then

the Object like the Subject – like the Subject’s conceptual system in fact – and it has the features of discrimination, control and instrumental meaning. The principal feature of any animism is projection. Projection is the term for the process whereby the Subject mistakenly identifies his own system of knowledge for the Object and thereby projects himself (in his own mind) onto the world. As a result, he in fact, conceives the world to be exactly like he is. In so doing, he fails to actually

with the Object: superfluous aspect of the concept — ie. subjective fantasy Non-identity b. Non-identity of the Object with the concept: the objectivity which lies beyond the concept Is Adorno’s ‘non-identity thinking’ therefore, as this literature implies, the process where we find the entity of non-identity (a) and/or non-identity (b) – and so compensate for the deficiencies of identity thinking? The issue then becomes how we come to recognise non-identity (a) or (b)14 . That is, how we come

mystery, however, the phenomenon to be interpreted is indeterminate in a way such that we can not apply concepts to it at all. We can merely sense something that is indefinite in nature and sense that it lies beyond our reach. Mystery refers to the experience the Subject has when he engages with a work of art which is indeterminate in nature, such that he, on the one hand wants to interpret it, yet on the other hand is unable to do so. Aura is mysterious17 . It both evokes and refutes

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