Adorno and the problem of givenness

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Title: Adorno and the problem of givenness
Authors: O'Connor, Brian
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Date: Jan-2004
Abstract: In Adorno’s account of the subject-object relation a series of striking and seemingly incompatible claims are made about the character of givenness. Indeed Adorno’s position seems to be profoundly contradictory. His claims are: (1) that idealism is essentially correct about the cognitive composition of our world (so even ‘the given’ must bear the determinations of consciousness); (2) that in experience there is an epistemically significant relation to something non-conceptual; (3) that the very notion of the given is ideological in character in that it fails to consider the social construction of ‘what there is’, a construction that Adorno rejects for the reasons that are familiar to the critical theory perspective. On the face of it these are claims that do not fit easily together: (1) and (2) are mutually exclusive, and (3) appears to render (2) naïve. And should these claims be as incompatible as they appear the implications for the project of the negative dialectic are, of course, devastating. It would be a purely dogmatic diagnosis of modernity which had no philosophically sustainable account of the possibility of a post-modern experience. In this paper I want to explore these claims and suggest that Adorno provides an over-arching argument that gives them systematic coherence. But first, each claim needs to be examined in turn.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Assoc. R.I.P.
Copyright (published version): 2004 Assoc. R.I.P.
Keywords: AdornoConceptualismGivennessIdealism
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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