Adorno on Nihilism and Modern Science, Animals, and Jews

Symposium 15 (1):110-145 (2011)
Abstract
Adorno, no less than Heidegger or Nietzsche, had his own critical notions of truth/untruth. But Adorno’s readers are unsettled by the barest hint of anything that might be taken to be antiscience. To protest scientism, yes and to be sure, but to protest “scientific thought,” decidedly not, and the distinction is to be maintained even if Adorno himself challenged it. For Adorno, so-called “scientistic” tendencies are the very “conditions of society and of scientific thought.” And again, Adorno’s readers tend to refuse criticism of this kind. Scientific rationality cannot itself be problematic and E. B. Ashton, Adorno’s translator in the mid-1960s, sought to underscore this with the word “scientivistic.” Rather than science, it is scientism that is to be avoided. So we ask: is Adorno speaking here of scientific rationality or scientistic rationality? How, in general, are we to read Adorno?
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