By Peter E. Gordon
From the start to the top of his profession, the severe theorist Theodor W. Adorno sustained an uneasy yet enduring bond with existentialism. His perspective total used to be that of unsparing feedback, verging on polemic. In Kierkegaard he observed an early paragon for the past due 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 break away from the prison-house of consciousness.
Most students of serious concept 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 efficient than mere antipathy. From his first released e-book on Kierkegaard’s aesthetic to the mature reviews in damaging dialectics, Adorno used to be without end returning to the philosophies of bourgeois interiority, looking the paradoxical relation among their happen failure and their hidden promise.
Ultimately, Adorno observed in them an instructive if unsuccessful try to notice his personal ambition: to flee the enchanted circle of idealism on the way to seize “the primacy of the object.” workouts 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 unusual gentle in this missed bankruptcy within the historical past of Continental philosophy.
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Extra resources for Adorno and Existence
The Barthian revolution of “crisis theology” injected a new passion for Kierkegaard into the religious controversies of the 1920s. Alongside Barth, the primary representatives of dialectical theology included both Emil Brunner and Friedrich Gogarten, and it sent shockwaves through nearly all of the major philosophies of the day, awakening fervent themes of Lutheran individualism and conscience that would come to prominence in the earlier efforts from philosophers such as Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger.
They allow us to pursue his thought across the stages of his life, from his days as a young student of philosophy in Frankfurt, to the exile in New York, to his time as an aging émigré, both reviled and revered, who returned to Frankfurt after World War II. Alongside these three texts are the many comments and asides on Kierkegaard that can be found throughout Adorno’s written work, especially in Negative Dialectics and The Jargon of Authenticity, major texts to which I will return in later chapters.
But Heidegger no less than Husserl remains shackled to an idealist point of departure precisely because “the question of Being” that is to serve as the constitutive framework for all of reality remains accessible only from within the privileged confines of human understanding. ” Heideggerian ontology betrays its idealist character insofar as it cleaves to the premise that “thinking about Being” retains a disclosive power vis-à-vis the totality. ”7 42 / Adorno and Existence For Adorno this is the great irony of Heidegger’s philosophy.
Adorno and Existence by Peter E. Gordon