Adorno, Heidegger and the critique of epistemology

Philosophy and Social Criticism 24 (4):43-62 (1998)
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Adorno and Heidegger are frequently aligned because of apparent similarities in their critiques of modern epistemology. This alignment fails, however, to appreciate the substantial differences in the philosophical presuppositions that inform those very critiques. I distinguish Adorno's negative dialectic from Heidegger's fundamental ontology under the respective designations of critical versus phenomenological forms of transcendental philosophy. I argue that only by understanding Adorno's negative dialectic as a revised version of epistemology (namely a dialectical epistemology, committed to subject-object and transcendental argument) can we make sense of, first, the profound differences between Adorno and Heidegger on the question of epistemology and, second, the philosophical motivations behind Adorno's trenchant rejection of Heidegger. Key Words: being-in-the-world • - dialectics • - empiricism • - epistemology • - idealism • - identity • - immediacy • - irrationalism • - mediation • - project • - subject • -object • - transcendental.


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