Lectures on Negative Dialectics: Fragments of a Lecture by Theodor W. Adorno

By Theodor W. Adorno

This quantity contains one of many key lecture classes prime as much as the e-book in 1966 of Adorno’s significant paintings, Negative Dialectics. those lectures specialise in constructing the thoughts serious to the introductory component of that e-book. They convey Adorno as an embattled thinker defining his personal method one of the winning traits of the time. As a serious theorist, he repudiated the tired Marxist stereotypes nonetheless dominant within the Soviet bloc—he particularly addresses his feedback to scholars who had escaped from the East within the interval major as much as the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. prompted as he was once by way of the empirical faculties of proposal he had encountered within the usa, he however persisted to withstand what he observed as their quit to clinical and mathematical abstraction. even though, their impact used to be effective adequate to avoid him from reverting to the conventional idealisms nonetheless commonly used in Germany, or to their most recent manifestations within the form of the hot ontology of Heidegger and his disciples. as a substitute, he makes an attempt to outline, might be extra easily and entirely than within the ultimate released model, a ‘negative’, i.e. severe, method of philosophy. Permeating the entire booklet is Adorno’s experience of the overpowering strength of totalizing, dominating structures within the post-Auschwitz international. highbrow negativity, accordingly, commits him to the obdurate defence of individuals—both evidence and people—who stubbornly refuse to develop into built-in into ‘the administered world’.

These lectures display Adorno to be a full of life and fascinating lecturer. He makes critical calls for on his listeners yet constantly manages to brighten up his arguments with observations on philosophers and writers similar to Proust and Brecht and reviews on present occasions. Heavy highbrow artillery is mixed with a priority for his students’ progress.

“The most sensible advent to Adorno’s inspiration is Adorno’s lectures: sufferer and expansive, they supply the darkest corners of his inspiration with mild and air. Aiming to tricky the fundamental assumptions and dealing procedure at the back of his philosophical perform as a rule, those lapidary lectures contact on a number of the so much tough facets of Adorno’s philosophy.” —J. M. Bernstein, New institution for Social learn

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On this point: what is the product of the neg[ation] of the neg[ation]. My reply: always a bad positivity. Index falsi. – The gravest reservation to concept of synthesis. Incidentally, in H[egel] the so[-called] synthesis (which plays an astonishingly minor role in his texts) is not simply the better and higher, but the self-assertion of the thesis in the antithesis, the expression of non-identity; in this respect not so very different from emp[irical] phil[osophy]. – Difference of nuance; these are crucial in phil[osophy] Introd.

So what I am saying is that he destroyed the illusion of the subject’s being-in-itself and showed that the subject is itself an aspect of social objectivity. Furthermore, he inferred from this the necessary fact that in its dealings with abstract subjectivity, the social aspect proves to be the stronger and prevails as such. However – and this is precisely the point at which criticism of Hegel has to begin if we are to justify the formulation of a negative dialectics – we must ask this question: is this objectivity which we have shown to be a necessary condition and which subsumes abstract subjectivity in fact the higher factor?

E. the subject, spirit) and its τε′ λος, it carries the system. This results in two questions that I must try to answer by developing this line of thought: whether negative dialectics is possible 1) 23 Is negative dialectics at all possible? e. what is the source of determinate negation without the positive postulation guiding it. On this point: what is the product of the neg[ation] of the neg[ation]. My reply: always a bad positivity. Index falsi. – The gravest reservation to concept of synthesis.

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