A whole lot of misery: Adorno's negative Aristotelianism—Replies to Allen, Celikates, and O'Connor

European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3):861 - 874 (2017)
Authors
Fabian Freyenhagen
University of Essex
Abstract
Can one both be an Aristotelian in ethics and a negativist, whereby the latter involves subscribing to the view that the good cannot be known in our social context but that ethical guidance is nonetheless possible in virtue of a pluralist conception of the bad? Moreover, is it possible to combine Aristotelianism with a thoroughly historical outlook? I have argued that such combinations are, indeed, possible, and that we can find an example of them in Adorno's work. In this paper, I reply to three critics who cast doubt on this proposal. I also reply to other concerns they raise, regarding immanent critique, negativism, the role of social theory in Adorno's work, and the danger of being co-opted. I stress the holism of Adorno's position, and, amid some more deflationary moves, insist on the distinctiveness of the Aristotelian position that results.
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