Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/10511
Title: Adorno and the modern ethos of freedom
Contributor(s): Hearfield, Colin  (author); McDonald, William  (supervisor); Lynch, Anthony  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2001
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/10511
Abstract: Adorno's relation to the modern 'ethos' of freedom is developed through an immanent critique of six other modem philosophies of freedom. In the first instance I examine Adorno's response to the 'logics of freedom' enunciated by Kant and Hegel. Both make claim to the actuality of freedom by way of a self-reflexive conceptual 'ratio'. In a second phase, I turn to Adorno's critique of those different 'aesthetics of existence' presented by Nietzsche and Heidegger. Here the conditions of possibility for freedom are articulated through an existential 'poiesis' of the will and language respectively. The philosophical opposition of conceptual 'ratio' and existential 'poiesis' as forms of practical reason is carried through in the more contemporary, antithetical 'politics of truth' given voice by Habermas and Foucault. Since Adorno's discussion of these philosophers is virtually nonexistent, with the aid of other commentators, I develop an immanent critique of their positions on my own behalf. Despite claiming to resolve the earlier aporias of practical reason through communicative and aesthetic practices respectively, Habermas and Foucault, I contend, simply reproduce them. Unlike his modern counterparts, Adorno does not attempt to resolve the aporia of freedom and unfreedom but articulates their relation as an antagonistic unity, or what amounts to a negative dialectics of freedom. In so doing, Adorno firstly rescues sensuous spontaneity and nonidentity from within the all too reductive charter of the conceptual 'ratio'. Secondly, he redeems a critical metaphysics or utopian perspective from within the existential immanence of an eternally recurrent 'poiesis'. In effect the modern cultural opposition of conceptual 'ratio' and existential 'poiesis' may be viewed as "torn halves of an integral freedom, to which however they do not add up". While removed from its original social context, this irresolvable arithmetic metaphor serves equally well to encapsulate what Adorno understands by the negative dialectics of freedom.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 2001 - Colin Hearfield
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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Thesis Doctoral

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