Download Adorno and Existence by Peter E. Gordon PDF

By Peter E. Gordon

ISBN-10: 0674734785

ISBN-13: 9780674734784

From the start to the top of his occupation, the serious theorist Theodor W. Adorno sustained an uneasy yet enduring bond with existentialism. His angle total was once that of unsparing feedback, verging on polemic. In Kierkegaard he observed an early paragon for the overdue flowering of bourgeois solipsism; in Heidegger, an impresario for a “jargon of authenticity” cloaking its idealism in an air of secrecy of pseudo-concreteness and neo-romantic kitsch. Even within the straitened rationalism of Husserl’s phenomenology Adorno observed a useless try and separate from from the prison-house of consciousness.

Most students of serious conception nonetheless regard those philosophical workouts as marginal works―unfortunate lapses of judgment for a philosopher another way celebrated for dialectical mastery. but his power fascination with the philosophical canons of existentialism and phenomenology indicates a connection way more effective than mere antipathy. From his first released ebook on Kierkegaard’s aesthetic to the mature experiences in destructive dialectics, Adorno used to be without end returning to the philosophies of bourgeois interiority, looking the paradoxical relation among their show up failure and their hidden promise.

Ultimately, Adorno observed in them an instructive if unsuccessful try and discover his personal ambition: to flee the enchanted circle of idealism on the way to grab “the primacy of the object.” routines in “immanent critique,” Adorno’s writings on Kierkegaard, Husserl, and Heidegger current us with a photographic negative―a philosophical portrait of the writer himself. In Adorno and Existence, Peter E. Gordon casts new and strange gentle in this ignored bankruptcy within the historical past of Continental philosophy.

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Against Kierkegaard’s own verdict, then, Adorno sets out to show how Kierkegaard’s aesthetic categories in fact serve as “primitive” signs for philosophical concepts that may not have received sufficient philosophical elaboration. ” Moreover, such aesthetic categories reflect the social and historical situation of the author himself and thus reveal the historical conditioning of a philosophy that would deny to history any genuinely philosophical meaning. Consider, for example, the figure of the nonreligious sensualist, or, alternately, the literary aesthete or flâneur (as Kierkegaard later characterized his own situation when writing Either/Or), both of which function throughout Kierkegaard’s work as antitypes to the integrity of religious existence.

47 Wahl’s Études kierkegaardiennes During the years that followed the dissertation, Adorno turned his attention to other matters, and the consolidation of the Nazi dictatorship left him increasingly uncertain about the chances for a secure career in Germany. An official notice from the new government informed him that his license to teach was no longer valid, and for the next four years he entertained the possibility of a new career in England, devoting the greater share of his time there to a new study of Husserlian phenomenology (as will be discussed in Chapter 2).

In this sense Kant ranks as the theorist of constitutive subjectivity sine qua non. 3 More perplexing, however, is the question as to why Adorno would also find a thesis of constitutive subjectivity in the philosophers of existence such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger. The charge is controversial, and to many readers counterintuitive. Kierkegaard is more typically reputed to be the thinker who opens the subject to an always paradoxical encounter with the alterity of the divine. Heidegger, meanwhile, enjoys an enduring prestige as the philosopher who brought the era of humanist-metaphysical subjectivity to an end: what Heidegger called the project of a “destruction” begins as early as Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics in 1929 and reaches its completion in the later 1930s with the assault on Nietzsche’s metaphysics of the will.

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Adorno and Existence by Peter E. Gordon


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