Adorno on Politics after Auschwitz by Gary A. Mullen

By Gary A. Mullen

Within the minds of many serious theorists, Theodor W. Adorno epitomizes the failure of severe conception to supply any concrete suggestions 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 booklet endeavors to disrupt this false impression via delivering a detailed analyzing of Adorno’s philosophical war of words with the Holocaust and the fashionable conceptions of background, morality and subjectivity which are complicit in genocide. through rethinking the connection among cause and remembrance, morality and materiality, mimesis and political violence, Adorno’s paintings bargains not just incisive feedback of contemporary political principles and associations, it additionally indicates us intimations of a unique political practice.

“Gary Mullen gives you a lively protection of Adorno’s oft-maligned try to carry serious thought to endure at the historical past of eu 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 by way of Mullen, actually, Adorno is correctly understood as calling for an intensification of the undertaking of ecu enlightenment and as directing the severe energy of cause towards the particularity of human discomfort. As Mullen ably demonstrates, the normative energy of Adorno’s contribution to serious idea 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 is often a powerful, pressing, and deeply humane publication. Adorno on Politics could be a important source for college students and students alike.” —Daniel Conway, Texas A&M collage

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The dispossession of birth, of death, the material and bodily conditions that keep the subject from being self-grounding, cannot be projected outside itself and vanquished. The political judgment of the dispossessed subject can never be a final judgment that abolishes our dispossession. Butler writes, Condemnation, denunciation and excoriation work as quick ways to posit an ontological difference between judge and judged, even to purge oneself of another. Condemnation becomes the way in which we establish the other as non-recognizable or jettison some aspect of ourselves that we lodge in the other, whom we then condemn.

1 Adorno’s philosophy of history constitutes a fundamental rejection of the Hegelian notion that “the real is the rational” and that the “slaughter bench” of history is the chronicle of freedom and reason unfolding. Hegel’s view of history is paradoxically “construed and negated” by Adorno. History has a pattern but that pattern is contrary to freedom. A truly human history would require the negation of that pattern. But negated how? Adorno recognized that we have the scientific and technological capability to end poverty and hunger, and that a fundamentally different world is possible.

NOTES 1. The full implications of this central feature of Adorno’s philosophy will be discussed at length in chapters 5 and 6. The role of suffering in the motivation of thought is a theme running throughout Adorno’s works, but it is most clearly evident in the following quote from the introduction to Negative Dialectics: “Where thought transcends the bonds it tied in resistance—there is freedom. Freedom follows the subject’s urge to express itself. The need to lend a voice to suffering is a condition of all truth.

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