Adorno and extreme evil

Philosophy and Social Criticism 26 (4):75-93 (2000)
Abstract
By comparing Adorno's conception of evil with those of Kant and Levinas, it is argued that the commitment to a notion of materialist transcendence, which Adorno introduces as a philosophical response to Auschwitz, is compatible with an equally strong commitment to philosophical modernity and autonomy. Whereas Kant's moral theology, on the one hand, proceeds in a too immanent fashion, and Levinas's heterology, on the other, in seeking to explode ontology, denies the conditions of thought's rational responsiveness, Adorno succeeds in combining the quest for radical otherness with an idealist interpretation of modernity. Key Words: Adorno • Auschwitz • evil • Kant • Levinas • metaphysics • modernity • moral theology • transcendence.
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