Adorno's negative dialectic: Theme, point, and methodological status

This paper provides a critical interpretation of the theme, point, and methodological status of Adorno’s so-called negative dialectic. The theme at issue, ‘non-identity’, comes in several varieties; and the point of Adorno’s dialectic, namely reconciliation, is multifaceted. Exploration of those topics shows that negative dialectic seques into substantive doctrines, including a version of transcendentalism and a claim about deformation. The peculiar methodological status of negative dialectic explains that adumbration. In the appraisive register, my principal contentions include these: Adorno’s transcendentalism makes some sense of the aforementioned deformation claim; and negative dialectic qua method avoids mystery and metaphysical excess.
Keywords Adorno  negative dialectic  nonidentity  reconciliation  deformation
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DOI 10.1080/09672550902794413
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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