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Lectures on Negative Dialectics: Fragments of a Lecture Course 1965/1966 / Edition 1

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Overview

This volume comprises one of the key lecture courses leading up to the publication in 1966 of Adorno's major work, Negative Dialectics. These lectures focus on developing the concepts critical to the introductory section of that book. They show Adorno as an embattled philosopher defining his own methodology among the prevailing trends of the time. As a critical theorist, he repudiated the worn-out Marxist stereotypes still dominant in the Soviet bloc – he specifically addresses his remarks to students who had escaped from the East in the period leading up to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Influenced as he was by the empirical schools of thought he had encountered in the United States, he nevertheless continued to resist what he saw as their surrender to scientific and mathematical abstraction. However, their influence was potent enough to prevent him from reverting to the traditional idealisms still prevalent in Germany, or to their latest manifestations in the shape of the new ontology of Heidegger and his disciples. Instead, he attempts to define, perhaps more simply and fully than in the final published version, a ‘negative', i.e. critical, approach to philosophy. Permeating the whole book is Adorno’s sense of the overwhelming power of totalizing, dominating systems in the post-Auschwitz world. Intellectual negativity, therefore, commits him to the stubborn defence of individuals – both facts and people – who stubbornly refuse to become integrated into ‘the administered world’.

These lectures reveal Adorno to be a lively and engaging lecturer. He makes serious demands on his listeners but always manages to enliven his arguments with observations on philosophers and writers such as Prouvést and Brecht and comments on current events. Heavy intellectual artillery is combined with a concern for his students’ progress.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best introduction to Adorno's thought is Adorno's lectures: patient and expansive, they provide the darkest corners of his thought with light and air. Aiming to elaborate the basic assumptions and working method behind his philosophical practice in general, these lapidary lectures touch on many of the most difficult aspects of Adorno's philosophy."
J. M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745635101
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/17/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 779,663
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodor Adorno was a member of the Frankfurt School.

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Table of Contents


  • Translator’s Note
  • Editor’s Foreword
  • Lectures One to Ten
  • Lecture One: The Concept of Contradiction
  • Lecture Two: The Negation of Negation
  • Lecture Three: Whether negative dialectics is possible
  • Lecture Four: Whether philosophy is possible without system
  • Lecture Five: Theory and practice
  • Lecture Six: Being, Nothing, Concept
  • Lecture Seven: ‘Attempted breakouts’
  • Lecture Eight: The concept of intellectual experience
  • Lecture Nine: The element of speculation
  • Lecture Ten: Philosophy and ‘depth’
  • Lectures Eleven to Twenty-Five: Negative Dialectics
  • Additional Notes
  • Appendix: The Theory of Intellectual Experience
  • Bibliographical Sources
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