Adorno and the disenchantment of nature

Philosophy and Social Criticism 32 (2):231-253 (2006)

Alison Stone
Lancaster University
In this article I re-examine Adorno's and Horkheimer's account of the disenchantment of nature in Dialectic of Enlightenment . I argue that they identify disenchantment as a historical process whereby we have come to find natural things meaningless and completely intelligible. However, Adorno and Horkheimer believe that modernity not only rests on disenchantment but also tends to re-enchant nature, because it encourages us to think that its institutions derive from, and are anticipated and prefigured by, nature. I argue that Adorno's Negative Dialectics and Aesthetic Theory show how constellations and artworks generate an alternative form of reenchantment which is critical of modernity and its domination of nature. This form of re-enchantment finds natural beings to be mysteriously meaningful because they embody histories of immeasurable suffering. This experience engenders guilt and antipathy to human domination over nature.
Keywords Adorno  disenchantment  domination  enlightenment  modernity  natural beauty  nature
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DOI 10.1177/0191453706061094
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References found in this work BETA

Negative Dialectics.Raymond Geuss - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (6):167-175.
Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason.Patsy Hallen - 2002 - Ethics and the Environment 7 (2):181-184.
Aesthetic Theory.Theodor W. Adorno, Gretel Adorno, Rolf Tiedemann & C. Lenhardt - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (12):732-741.

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Citations of this work BETA

Adorno, Hegel, and Dialectic.Alison Stone - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (6):1118-1141.
Adorno and Schelling on the Art–Nature Relation.Camilla Flodin - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):176-196.
The Ideology of Modernity and the Myth of the Given.Carl Sachs - 2015 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (3):249-271.
Constellations of Indigeneity: The Power of Definition.Claire Timperley - forthcoming - Contemporary Political Theory:1-23.

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