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Summary

Theodor W. Adorno (1903–1969) was a first-generation member of the Frankfurt School For Social Research. As was the case with his fellow 'Critical Theorists' Horkheimer and Marcuse et al, his work was interdisciplinary and considerably Marxist. His task, as he saw it, was to use philosophy, sociology and other tools to understand the evils of the past and present, thereby helping to prepare the possibility – he thought one could do little more than that – of a better future. Adorno’s largest philosophical debts are to Kant, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche. Adorno drew upon those thinkers, and others including Freud and Walter Benjamin, in creating a distinctive approach to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy.

Key works

Adorno’s magnum opus, Negative Dialectics (first published 1966), is as much a critique of metaphysics, epistemology and of systematic philosophy in general as it is a contribution to those endeavours. Somewhat similar – and working via an account of Husserl’s phenomenology – is the earlier Metacritique of Epistemology (first published in 1956). The posthumously published Aesthetic Theory is also very important; given the centrality of aesthetics to Adorno’s philosophy, it is not ‘just’ a work on aesthetics. There are other important works. Dialectic of Enlightenment (co-written with Max Horkheimer; first published in 1947) presents a case that the Enlightenment has disastrously misfired. Minima Moralia (1951) is a careful and quintessentially Adornian aphoristic text, covering many subjects but especially social, political and ethical ones. Hegel: Three Studies (1963) is something of a preparation for Negative Dialectics. Among the recently translated lecture courses, Problems of Moral Philosophy is perhaps the most enlightening.

Introductions

Theodor Adorno: Key Concepts, edited by D. Cook, might be the most accessible introduction to this difficult thinker. Other introductions include works by B. O’Connor, G. Rose, S. Jarvis, and chapters 5 and 7 of D. Held. Adorno’s lectures (such as the aforementioned Problems of Moral Philosophy) are also useful as introductions.

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1844 found
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  1. Governing through conflict: On Adorno's critique of postwar sociology.Yasmin Afshar - forthcoming - Wiley: Constellations.
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  2. Governing through conflict: On Adorno's critique of postwar sociology.Yasmin Afshar - forthcoming - Constellations.
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  3. The" Clatter of Triplicity". Adorno's Reception of Hegel.Daniel Althof - forthcoming - Hegel-Studien.
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  4. Notes on Adorno's 'Resignation'.Aaron Bell - forthcoming - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary:NA.
    Introduction to and critical examination of Theodor Adorno's essay "Resignation." Deals with the theory/praxis debate, Adorno's confrontation with the radical student movements in the 1960's, and the charge that Adorno was either politically conservative or an ineffective pessimist.
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  5. Ben Watson, Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play.W. Bonefeld - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  6. Critique et métacritique.R. P. Stanislas Breton - forthcoming - Les Etudes Philosophiques.
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  7. Freedom and dialectics: On the critical theory of Moishe Postone and Theodor Adorno.Anke Devyver - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    This article examines the relation between the critical theory of Moishe Postone and the philosophy of Theodor Adorno. While the former is clearly influenced by the latter, these influences mostly stay implicit. When explicit, he does not so easily put his own thought in line with Adorno’s and is highly critical of him. I will investigate the ways in which ideas from Adorno made their way into Postone’s work, but also where the latter diverts from them. As will be shown, (...)
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  8. Christoph Menke, The Sovereignty of Art: Aesthetic Negativity in Adorno and Derrida.A. Fisher - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  9. “A False Classless Society”: Adorno’s social theory revisited.Naveh Frumer - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. Adorno’s social theory is enjoying renewed attention, as is the debate to what extent is it Marxist. A central issue remains Adorno’s concept of social totality: capitalism as a fully integrated society in which every difference is levelled. One problem this raises is why is he still committed to the Marxist concept of class. And second, how to understand his critique of the idea of proletarian class-consciousness, which seems to leave his critical theory (...)
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  10. Contra la moderación: El problema de la forma (musical) en Theodor W. Adorno.Marina Hervás Muñoz - forthcoming - Thémata Revista de Filosofía.
    En este artículo se trata de reconstruir el desarrollo de la idea de forma musical en el pensamiento adorniano a partir de tres textos fundamentales: “Evolución y formas en la nueva música”, “Vers une musique informelle” y “La forma en la nueva música”. A partir de ellos, se pone en relación la forma con la idea de libertad, la imaginación y el color, en cada caso, para mostrar la complejidad del término, así como la relación con otros aspectos clave de (...)
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  11. Adorno's Aesthetic Model of Social Critique.Andrew Huddleston - forthcoming - In Peter E. Gordon, Espen Hammer & Maxim Pensky (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Adorno. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  12. Theodor W. Adorno. Aesthetic Theory.S. Martin - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  13. JM Bernstein, Adorno: Disenchantment and Ethics.A. Morgan - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  14. Theodor W. Adorno, Hegel: Three Studies.P. Osborne - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  15. Waiting for Godot: The Fragmentation of Hope.Benjamin Randolph - forthcoming - Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.
    Waiting for Godot’s many commentators have emphasized the absurdity of hope in the play, but there has not been an account of how the play reprises hope’s historical transformation and weakening in modernity. This essay provides that account, arguing that Beckett’s Waiting for Godot sponsors a form of hope appropriate to the predicaments of modern societies. Godot stages the blockage of hope by reflecting the obsolescence and fragmentation of the religious and progressive legitimations for the concept that used to be (...)
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  16. Totally Administered Heteronomy: Adorno on Work, Leisure, and Politics in the Age of Digital Capitalism.Craig Reeves & Matthew Sinnicks - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics.
    This paper aims to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Adorno’s thought for business ethicists working in the critical tradition by showing how his critique of modern social life anticipated, and ofers continuing illumination of, recent technological transformations of capitalism. It develops and extrapolates Adorno’s thought regarding three central spheres of modern society, which have seen radical changes in light of recent technological developments: work, in which employee monitoring has become ever more sophisticated and intrusive; leisure consumption, in which the algorithmic (...)
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  17. Blaski i cienie idei postępu w filozofii – od Hegla po Adorno i Horkheimera.Karol Staśkiewicz - forthcoming - Archiwum Historii Filozofii I Myśli Społecznej.
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  18. On How to Make Adorno Scream: John Holloway's Concept of Revolution against Class and Identity'.Marcel Stoetzler - forthcoming - Historical Materialism.
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  19. O conceito de identificação no pensamento de Adorno: entre o ajustamento social e a resistência em direção a uma existência mais humana.Rita de Cassia Thomaz - forthcoming - Aprender-Caderno de Filosofia E Psicologia da Educação.
    O artigo traz uma discussão acerca da utilização do conceito de identificação por Adorno. A partir disso procuramos dar ênfase para o tema da crítica e da negação da cultura possibilitadas pela apropriação da psicanálise realizada pelo autor. A aplicação do conceito permite analisar o processo de assimilação do indivíduo no capitalismo tardio. Uma vez que a cultura é transformada em mercadoria, e assim absorve o ritmo idêntico e repetitivo da produção mecanizada, que transmite aos indivíduos através dos produtos que (...)
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  20. Brian O'Connor. Adorno's Negative Dialectic: Philosophy and the Possibility of a Critical Rationality. MIT Press 2004.Margherita Tonon - forthcoming - Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society.
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  21. Más allá del deseo sublimado y la satisfacción desinteresada: el arte como escritura inconsciente de las figuras de la consciencia en la estética de Th. W. Adorno. [REVIEW]Vanessa Vidal - forthcoming - Thémata Revista de Filosofía.
    El artículo expone la crítica de Adorno a las estéticas centradas en el sujeto y su relación afirmativa o negativa con el deseo en Kant y Freud desde una revisión de la concepción objetiva y dialéctica de la estética de Hegel que, a su vez, es criticada y ampliada desde una lectura del inconsciente freudiano como “posible saber”. Todo ello quiere contribuir a clarificar la concepción del arte de Adorno como escritura inconsciente de la historia.
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  22. Presentación: Aspectos de la teoría estética de Theodor W. Adorno.Vanessa Vidal - forthcoming - Thémata Revista de Filosofía.
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  23. Theodor W. Adorno, Beethoven: The Philosophy of Muxic.B. Watson - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  24. La teoría de la novela de Theodor W. Adorno.Claus Zittel - forthcoming - Thémata Revista de Filosofía.
    El artículo expone la teoría de la novela de Adorno, pero, en contra de lo que suele suceder en la recepción de la filosofía adorniana que suele conectarla con las reflexiones sobre la novela de Benjamin y Lukács, lo hace a partir del material sobre lo épico —todavía no investigado en profundidad— que Adorno hace presenta en su libro sobre Mahler. Una de las principales y novedosas tesis que se quiere mostrar es la interdependencia del lenguaje musical y el literario, (...)
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  25. Theodor W. Adorno.L. Zuidevaart - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  26. Séminaire d’été 1932 sur L’Origine du drame baroque allemand de Walter Benjamin. Comptes rendus.Theodor W. Adorno, Jean Tain & David Kretz - 2024 - Philosophie 160 (1):12-34.
    The minutes of Adorno’s aesthetics seminar, held during the summer term of 1932 at the university of Frankfurt, are a rare trace of the early philosophical reception of Walter Benjamin’s opus magnum, The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1928). Showcasing his critical spirit and pedagogy, Adorno and his students attempt a clarification, as well as a problematization, of this dense and difficult text, touching on such problems as the historicity of ideas or the concept of a ‘constellation’. This document is (...)
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  27. Os recônditos da modernidade: história e utopia em Kant e Adorno.Alan Duarte Araújo - 2024 - Aufklärung 11 (1):51-68.
    This paper aims to elucidate the meanings of the concept of modernity, highlighting its contradictory core and the theoretical and practical implications of this contradiction. To this end, we turn to the works of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), as a paradigmatic intellectual expression of modernity, insofar as the author highlights notions that seem central to understanding the specificity of his time, which are brought together in his reflections on history and human progress, in the context of the enlightenment (...)
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  28. Critical study from the enlightenment thought to the cultural industry: from Adorno’s perspective.Yan Chen - 2024 - Trans/Form/Ação 47 (4):e0240054.
    Resumen: El negocio cultural proporciona a la gente productos culturales estandarizados y estilizados con fines políticos específicos, transformándose en un arma de gobierno ideológica falsa y engañosa que paraliza la conciencia pública y elimina la individualidad, así como en cómplice del gobierno centralizado. La industria cultural sofoca la creatividad cultural y la individualidad humana para apoyar la autoridad capitalista mediante la infiltración ideológica. El objetivo de este artículo es promover la cultura al tiempo que se critica la industria cultural. El (...)
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  29. William S. Allen, Adorno, Aesthetics, Dissonance: On Dialectics in Modernity.Bryan Counter - 2024 - Philosophy Today 68 (1):199-201.
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  30. Como el papel secante con la tinta. La teología inversa de Walter Benjamin y Theodor W. Adorno, de Stephanie Graf.Cossette Galindo Ayala - 2024 - Revista de Filosofía (México) 56 (156):214-221.
    Tras la lectura de esta obra, reconocemos que su autora, Stephanie Graf, mantiene una signatura o estilo constante en cada parte, capítulo y subtítulo, pues le interesa plantear una trama, un tablero para dialogar con el trabajo de Walter Benjamin y de Theodor W. Adorno, ante uno de los desafíos más urgentes de nuestro tiempo: ¿Cómo entender la supervivencia de la teología en un mundo secular? En específico, ¿de qué forma el escándalo del mal, sobre todo del mal excesivo en (...)
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  31. A precarious happiness: Adorno and the sources of normativity.Peter Eli Gordon - 2024 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Readers of Theodor Adorno often have understood him as a "totalizing negativist." If it truly is the case that Adorno saw modern society as a realm of complete falsehood, however, his own social theory is unintelligible. In A Precarious Happiness, Peter E. Gordon aims to redeem Adorno from this negativist interpretation by showing that it arises from a basic misunderstanding of his work. Pushing against entrenched interpretations, Gordon argues that Adorno's philosophy is animated by a deep attachment to a concept (...)
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  32. What is the Matter with Matter? Barad, Butler, and Adorno.P. Højme - 2024 - Matter: Journal of New Materialist Research 9.
    This article aims to read feminist new materialisms (Barad), together with ‘postulated’ linguistic or cultural primacy of Queer Theory (Butler), to show how both are engaged in similar critical-ethical endeavours. The central argument is that the criticism of Barad and new materialisms misses Butler’s materialistic insights due to a narrow interpretation of Butler's alleged social-constructivist position. There is, therefore, a specific focus on where they both make similar ethical appeals. Moreover, the article relies on Adorno's negative dialectic to highlight an (...)
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  33. Is Adorno’s negative dialectic the fulfillment of an existentialist promise?Hynek Kaplan - 2024 - Filosoficky Casopis 72 (1):85-103.
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  34. Desgarramiento subjetivo y objetivo en las filosofías de Theodor W. Adorno y Walter Benjamin. Una tangente analítica de la modernidad.María Rita Moreno - 2024 - Ideas Y Valores 72 (182).
    Este trabajo muestra una concurrencia patente en la resonancia de las categorías ‘industria cultural’ [Kulturindustrie] –empleada por Theodor Adorno para indicar ciertas zonas de la dialéctica subjetiva– e ‘industria de recreo’ [Vergnügungsindustrie] –referida por Walter Benjamin en relación a la dialéctica objetiva–. Me detengo en esta poco explorada concomitancia para determinar por qué Adorno evidencia una dialéctica de la subjetividad administrada en la renuncia sacrificial y Benjamin elabora una dialéctica de la objetividad fetichizada signada por su carácter de fantasmagoría cadavérica. (...)
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  35. Theorien des Nichtidentischen im Anschluss an Hegel und Adorno.Georg Oswald & Mariana Dimópulos - 2024 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 72 (1):36-55.
    This paper reevaluates Adorno’s theory of non-identity following from a critical examination of his reading of Hegel. The main discussion revolves around two theses central to both philosophers: 1. Conceptual thinking forms the centre of philosophical thought (identification). 2. Philosophical thought aspires to become everything (totality). The analysis of two distinct interpretations, one stricter and one more moderate, demonstrates that Adorno takes the hardline view. With the moderate view, however, not only do the limits of Hegelian philosophy become more pronounced, (...)
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  36. Dewey, Adorno, and Pragmatist Aesthetics.Ulf Schulenberg - 2024 - Contemporary Pragmatism 21 (1):77-99.
    Pragmatist aesthetics has not yet reached its full potential. This is primarily due to the legacy of John Dewey’s aesthetics. In order to confront the shortcomings and insufficiencies of his aesthetics, pragmatist aestheticians ought to establish a dialogue with continental aesthetics. The attempt to clarify what pragmatist aesthetics can learn from Theodor W. Adorno’s materialist aesthetics is still a desideratum. This essay focuses on two aspects. First, it shows that pragmatist aestheticians can use Adorno’s modern aesthetics in order to gain (...)
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  37. Mímesis dialéctica. Sobre un concepto básico en Adorno.Vicente Jarque Soriano - 2024 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 92:115-129.
    This text goes as a reflection on the uses of the concept of mimesis as the core of Adorno’s thought. It starts with the proposals of the Dialectic of the Enlightenment, and then refers them to the way in which they reappear in the Aesthetic Theory, distinguishing the role of mimesis in he process of the production of the work and in that of its reception, both in art as in mass culture. Finally, it points to the possibility of enriching (...)
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  38. Adorno, Heidegger, and the Politics of Truth.Lambert Zuidervaart - 2024 - Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
    A critical and creative reconstruction of Adorno's conception of truth that shows its relevance for comtemporary philosophy, art, and politics.
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  39. “Freedom Towards the Object” - The Problem of Freedom and Praxis by Adorno’s Philosophy -. 정진범 - 2024 - Cheolhak-Korean Journal of Philosophy 158:117-148.
    이 논문은 “객체를 향한 자유”로 요약되는 아도르노의 자유론을 미적 자유론으로 해석하면서 이 자유의 실천철학적 함의를 밝히고자 한다. 아도르노가 말하는 자유는 미적 참여이며, 미적 참여는 인간의 근원적 자발성으로서 미학적-인간학적 충동에 의해 가능하다. 이때 충동은 주체와 타자의 근원적 연관성 그리고 타자 의존성을 보여주는 개념이다. 이러한 해석으로부터 다음의 주장들이 귀결된다. 첫째, 미적 자유와 실천 사이에는 해소되지 않는 긴장 관계가 있다. 이는 미적 차원을 형성하는 힘인 충동의 통제 불가능성 때문이다. 둘째, 그런 긴장에도 불구하고 미적 자유의 차원은 실천에 구성적이다. 인간의 타자 의존성을 담지하는 이 차원이 (...)
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  40. Psychanalyse et sociologie.Theodor W. Adorno, Marion Maurin & Aurélia Peyrical - 2023 - Archives de Philosophie 86 (1):123-138.
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  41. The Spacialization Revisited: Extensive Type’s Characterization and Contradictions in Theodor W. Adorno.João Paulo Andrade - 2023 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 68:45-61.
    As Adorno’s posthumous writings were released, a notable turn in his phi- losophy of music became noteworthy: by revealing an ambitious project on Beethoven, a quasi-axiomatic theory of musical time emerged, which seems to guide Adornian thought at very significant works and texts, as Philosophy of New Music. Sketched in three configuration types of musical time, this theory surprises with the so-called “ex- tensive type”. Adorno would then admit kinds of formal consistency (Stimmigkeit) that are not restricted to the ideal (...)
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  42. Art between Fetishism and Melancholy in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory.Rok Benčin - 2023 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 68:31-43.
    The article explores Adorno’s understanding of fetishism and melancholy as immanent to the artwork’s autonomous structure. In order to understand the relation between them, the Freudian understanding of fetishism and melancholy has to be considered along with the more explicit reference to the Marxist concept of commodity fetishism. Analysing the implications of Adorno’s claim that commodity fetishism is at the origin of artistic autonomy, the article shows how it should be understood not only as a materialist demystification but also as (...)
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  43. Wiping away the tears of Esau : Adorno's reconciliation with nature.Agata Bielik-Robson - 2023 - In Jakub Kowalewski (ed.), The Environmental Apocalypse: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Climate Crisis.
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  44. Theodor W. Adorno oder über den Versuch, die Kindheit verwandelt einzuholen.Daniel Burghardt - 2023 - In Günter Gödde, Jörg Zirfas & Eike Brock (eds.), Leiden und Lebenskunst: Biographisch-philosophische Studien zu Krisen, Therapien und Wandlungen. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 251-264.
    Der Beitrag unternimmt den Versuch die Kritische Theorie Adornos als eine Theorie des Leidens durchsichtig zu machen. Dabei werden das Leben und das Werk Adornos miteinander in Beziehung gesetzt: Die These lautet, dass sich Biographie und Theorie jeweils gegenseitig überschreiben, ohne dabei Unabhängigkeit oder Deckungsgleichheit zu erlangen. Ausgangspunkt bildet die Kindheit Adornos in Amorbach, deren Motive sich über die Erfahrungen im amerikanischen Exil bis hin zur Rückkehr nach Frankfurt fortsetzen. Über zwei theoretische Fugen werden schließlich die Dialektik der Aufklärung und (...)
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  45. Climate Change and the Irrational Society.Larry Alan Busk & Iaan Reynolds - 2023 - Theory and Event 26 (3):559-575.
    This essay considers the catastrophe of anthropogenic climate change in relation to two possible critical-theoretic dispositions. The first, represented by an emblematic passage from Adorno, retains the hope for the realization of a “rational society.” The second, represented by a complementary passage from Foucault, enjoins critical theory to abandon any ambition toward criticizing or transforming society at a totalizing level. We argue that the unfolding climate catastrophe demands a conception of critical theory more in line with the first disposition, and (...)
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  46. Language, Soil, and “Jewish” Alienation in Levinas and Adorno.Edmund Chapman - 2023 - Diacritics 51 (1):50-73.
    Emmanuel Levinas and Theodor Adorno are both post-Shoah philosophers who experienced refugeedom. In different contexts, both discuss the question of a linkage between language and soil, and ultimately show that the distinction between the native and the foreign is untenable. I suggest that Levinas’s evocation of linguistic soil illustrates his understanding of Jewishness as defined by a ceding of ground, thus showing that Levinas’s thought relies on a conception of ground in order to then reject it. Adorno, in evoking a (...)
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  47. Adorno leitor e crítico de Husserl: a reformulação da dialética desde a crítica à fenomenologia.Fábio Caires Correia & Oneide Perius - 2023 - ARGUMENTOS - Revista de Filosofia 30:185-202.
    Para compreender a relação de Adorno com a fenomenologia, ou melhor, a relação Adorno-Husserl, é importante distinguir dois momentos indissociáveis: (I) a crítica da fenomenologia operada a partir da dialética, e (II) o reconhecimento da legitimidade de um momento fenomenológico contra idealismo hegeliano. Do ponto de vista conceitual, trata-se, portanto, de desconstruir a primazia do imediato, que caracteriza o conceito fenomenológico do dado, para depois denunciar a pretensão idealista de uma totalização de todas as mediações em um sistema de pensamento. (...)
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  48. Adorno and Ecofeminist Ethics.Jordan Daniels - 2023 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 37 (3):356-368.
    ABSTRACT This article connects three elements of Theodor Adorno’s critical theory and contemporary ecological feminism: the critique of a strict dualism between nature and human activity, the role of care in moral thinking, and considerations of “the animal” in ethical frameworks. First, the author unpacks Adorno’s critical concept of “natural-history,” Naturgeschichte, which gives philosophy a two-pronged task: to denaturalize history and to historicize nature. After the article demonstrates that complicating the dualism between nature and history has consequences for ontology and (...)
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  49. Ilustración, racionalidad y pensamiento administrado.Jhoan Sebastian David Giraldo - 2023 - In Leandro Sánchez Marín & Jhoan Sebastian David Giraldo (eds.), Ensayos sobre la teoría crítica de la sociedad. A 100 años del Instituto de Investigación Social de Frankfurt. Medellín: Universidad Libre / Politécnico Colombiano Jaime Isaza Cadavid / Ennegativo Ediciones. pp. 785-809.
    En este texto pretendo explorar cómo el pensamiento, una vez establecido como dominante en una determinada época histórica, puede perder su capacidad crítica original y transformarse en un instrumento de perpetuación del statu quo. En primer lugar, abordo la relación entre lenguaje y ciencia, considerando cómo la instrumentalización del lenguaje puede influir en la dirección de la ciencia y limitar su potencial transformador y crítico. En segundo lugar, profundizo en el problema de la razón instrumental y su impacto en el (...)
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  50. Adorno, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Critical Theory: Negative Dialectics and Non-identity Thinking.Sunny Dhillon - 2023 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 15 (3):181-194.
    This paper explores the relationship between the thought of Theodor W. Adorno and Jiddu Krishnamurti. It focuses upon how both thinkers employ a determinately negative epistemology and revise Hegelian dialectics as a manner of ratiocination to resolve socio-political problems. It is argued that Krishnamurti’s negative epistemology is rendered more robust when read along with Adorno’s critical theory, aesthetic theory, and notions of negative dialectics and non-identity thinking. It is hoped that this synthesis of thought raises the possibility for ongoing creative (...)
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