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By Gary A. Mullen

Within the minds of many severe theorists, Theodor W. Adorno epitomizes the failure of severe thought to supply any concrete assistance for political perform. His identify is nearly synonymous with the retreat of the innovative highbrow from the creeping totalitarianism of up to date mass democracy. This publication endeavors to disrupt this false impression by means of delivering an in depth interpreting of Adorno’s philosophical war of words with the Holocaust and the fashionable conceptions of historical past, morality and subjectivity which are complicit in genocide. by way of rethinking the connection among cause and remembrance, morality and materiality, mimesis and political violence, Adorno’s paintings deals not just incisive feedback of recent political rules and associations, it additionally exhibits us intimations of a distinct political practice.

“Gary Mullen supplies a lively security of Adorno’s oft-maligned try to convey serious conception to undergo at the background of ecu domination. by means of getting to the eschatological deep constitution of Adorno’s philosophical undertaking, Mullen deftly counters the preferred interpretation of Adorno as a lapsed (and probably jaded) champion of cause and enlightenment. As portrayed via Mullen, in reality, Adorno is correctly understood as calling for an intensification of the venture of eu enlightenment and as directing the serious energy of cause towards the particularity of human discomfort. As Mullen ably demonstrates, the normative strength of Adorno’s contribution to severe conception derives from his candid war of words with the Holocaust, which, Adorno believed, obliges us to re-think the character and buy of political judgment. this can be a magnificent, pressing, and deeply humane ebook. Adorno on Politics may be a worthy source for college students and students alike.” —Daniel Conway, Texas A&M collage

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Extra info for Adorno on Politics after Auschwitz

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The opening toward those ends is etched in the details of particular lives in their confrontation with powers indifferent to their continued existence. The careful cultivation of the space within which something new might happen, even in the face of overwhelming forces posed against it, is the eschatological core of Adorno’s conception of reason. CONFRONTATION WITH KANT Adorno’s analysis of modern moral philosophy is dedicated to working through (in the psychoanalytic sense) the accomplishments of enlightenment.

114). 35. In The Jargon of Authenticity, Adorno criticizes existentialism for its lack of concreteness regarding ethical and political commitments: “It makes no difference to a follower to what he attaches himself at a given moment. He praises this as his capacity for enthusiasm” (Theodor Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity, trans. Knut Tarnowski and Frederic Will [Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973], p. 25). 36. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 80; Gesammelte Schriften III, pp.

Trans. V. Miller (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 407. TWO Morality and Materiality THE MORAL ADDENDUM: SUFFERING AND CRITIQUE The historical consciousness that undergirds instrumental rationality has far reaching consequences for ethics and politics. Much of the Dialectic of Enlightenment was dedicated to drawing the connection between enlightenment and morality and Adorno’s later works explored the interweaving of historical consciousness with politics and ethics. His critique of enlightenment is a critique of the collective self-conception of western modernity and the way in which it has undermined its own ideals.

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