By Espen Hammer

Curiosity in Theodor W. Adorno maintains to develop within the English-speaking international because the value of his contribution to philosophy, social and cultural concept, in addition to aesthetics is more and more famous. Espen Hammer’s lucid publication is the 1st to correctly research the political implications of his paintings, paying cautious realization to Adorno’s paintings on key thinkers comparable to Kant, Hegel and Benjamin.

Examining Adorno’s political reports and assessing his engagement with Marxist in addition to liberal conception, Hammer seems on the improvement of Adorno’s inspiration as he confronts Fascism and smooth mass tradition. He then analyzes the political size of his philosophical and aesthetic theorizing. through addressing Jürgen Habermas’s influential criticisms, he defends Adorno as a theorist of autonomy, accountability and democratic plurality. He additionally discusses Adorno’s relevance to feminist and ecological considering. instead of those that see Adorno as anyone who relinquished the political, Hammer’s account exhibits his reflections to be, at the so much primary point, politically influenced and deeply engaged.

This invigorating exploration of a massive political philosopher is an invaluable creation to his suggestion as a complete, and should be of curiosity to students and scholars within the fields of philosophy, sociology, politics and aesthetics.

“Hammer is to be congratulated for featuring a lucid and constant case for the importance of Adorno’s political proposal, doing justice to its complexity whereas situating it inside its particular ancient context.” —Howard Caygill, collage of London

“Clearly written, well-structured ... it's a awesome fulfillment to have attained this point of readability a couple of subject that's this tough and obscure.” —Raymond Geuss, collage of Cambridge

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Having downplayed both notions of class and class struggle (every society is class ridden, yet class is not the fundamental problem of modern society), as well as the narrative of historically inevitable liberation, operative in both Marx’s theory of falling rates of profit and Lukács’ more humanist call for the proletariat to reappropriate its own labor, the great challenge for Adorno is how a progressivist political agenda can continue to be sustained. , the proletariat) drops out, and as a readily identifiable victim of oppression becomes difficult, if not impossible, to locate, it seems as if the impulse that would animate social criticism gets irretrievably lost.

Although in conflict with some of his negative remarks about the dehumanizing effects of technology and mass production in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno generally subscribes to the view that the rational use of technology within a well-organized society could make material labor redundant. Unlike Marcuse and Horkheimer, however, who flirted more openly with a technological utopia of this kind, Adorno never develops this argument in any detail. Indeed, as the notion of a “humanized,” “soft” technology, presumably allowing for the widespread abolition of material labor, seems to have reached its ironical apogee in the age of information, there is reason to believe, first, that such technology, however mental, does not diminish the strains of labor but rather in many cases intensfies them, and, second, that labor is hardly less alienated today than it was in the classical industrial era.

While praxis may articulate itself in ways that we would count as restricted, it cannot be tied to labor except on pains of forfeiting any possible claim to freedom. Aware of the causal-genetic relation between labor and praxis, he thus insists on the irreducible essence of praxis: there is an ethical imperative, unknown to labor, which applies to the sphere of action. Whereas for Lukács (following the young Marx) a rational society entails the emancipation of labor in its externalized form, for Adorno emancipation entails the dispensation of labor altogether.

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