Revisiting the Dialectic of Environment: Nature as Ideology and Ethics in Adorno and the Frankfurt School

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2011 (155):105-126 (2011)
As a contribution to a critical yet responsive materialist ethics of environments and animals, I reexamine the significance of nature and animals in the critical social theory of Theodor Adorno. In response to the anthropocentric primacy of intersubjective discourse and recognition in recent figures associated with the Frankfurt School, such as Habermas and Honneth, I argue for the ecological import of the aporetic dialectic of nature and society diagnosed in Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment and Adorno’s later works. Adorno’s continuing confrontation with the “domination of nature” traces the tensions between the ideological construction and resistance of “nature” as well as the instrumentalization and implicit disruptive promise of sensuous life. It indicates the material and bodily bonds between human and animal happiness and suffering, the ambiguous role of mimesis in domination and emancipation, and the critical prospect of an unforced and non-coercive freedom toward the object and answerability toward socially and historically mediated yet non-identical natural life.
Keywords Adorno  nature  environment
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3817/0611155105
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,711
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Adorno and the Disenchantment of Nature.Alison Stone - 2006 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 32 (2):231-253.
Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw.Deborah Cook - 2007 - Continental Philosophy Review 40 (1):49-72.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

109 ( #42,963 of 2,146,251 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

19 ( #23,200 of 2,146,251 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums