By Simon Jarvis
Jarvis bargains an creation to the highbrow and institutional contexts for Adorno's suggestion, and examines his contributions to social thought, cultural conception, aesthetics and philosophy. He demonstrates the long-lasting coherence and explanatory strength of Adorno's paintings and illustrates its carrying on with relevance to modern debates.
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Extra resources for Adorno: A Critical Introduction
We can see this if we confront it with sociology's most elementary question. What is society? ' On this interpretation it is the term 'society' itself which is mystifying, a last remnant of metaphysics, and meaningful research would have to dispense with such unhelpful abstractions until a clear definition could be given. Adorno agrees with one aspect of this criticism. Society, he agrees, is not a thing. Yet, despite this, the concept cannot be dispensed with. jociety' resists summary definition not because too little work has been put into coming up with a clear concept of it, but because what the concept refers to cannot be presumed in advance to be wholly knowable.
But in order to answer this question, we need to consider a whole series of further difficulties connected with the metahistorical ambition of Adorno and Horkheimer's account. - The concept of domination Adorno and Horkheimer's argument is clearly extraordinarily ambitious, as any attempt to establish what rationality shares 'from 34 The Dialectic of Enliglitenrnent Parmenides to Russell’ is likely to be. There are several obvious difficulties with it. % This is not a defect which could be removed simply by defining ‘domination’.
One obvious objection to the whole series of ideas outlined here is that they present an impossibly generalized account of ‘enlightenment’, one so generalized that it is impossible to test. This kind of objection, significantly, is itself an example of what Adorno and Horkheimer mean by ‘enlightenment’. Finally even the concept of enlightenment itself is regarded as a piece of ‘animistic magic’, a wild generalization, or a ’myth’, because only the absolutely particular is thought to be real. This provides a good example of what the authors mean by suggesting that ‘what is’ becomes construed as fate.
Adorno: A Critical Introduction by Simon Jarvis