An Introduction to Dialectics by Theodor W. Adorno, Christoph Ziermann

By Theodor W. Adorno, Christoph Ziermann

This quantity includes Adorno?s first lectures in particular devoted to the topic of the dialectic, an idea which has been key to philosophical debate on account that classical occasions. whereas discussing connections with Plato and Kant, Adorno concentrates at the so much systematic improvement of the dialectic in Hegel's philosophy, and its dating to Marx, in addition to elaborating his personal perception of dialectical pondering as a severe reaction to this tradition.

Delivered in the summertime semester of 1958, those lectures permit Adorno to discover and probe the numerous problems and demanding situations this fashion of considering posed in the cultural and highbrow context of the post-war interval. during this connection he develops the thesis of a complementary courting among positivist or functionalist methods, fairly within the social sciences, in addition to calling for the renewal of ontological and metaphysical modes of suggestion which try and go beyond the abstractness of contemporary social event via attract regressive philosophical different types. whereas delivering an account of many critical subject matters of Hegelian suggestion, he additionally alludes to a complete variety of different philosophical, literary and inventive figures of significant value to his perception of severe conception, particularly Walter Benjamin and the belief of a constellation of recommendations because the version for an 'open or fractured dialectic' past the limitations of strategy and system.

These lectures are pro with full of life anecdotes and private memories which permit the reader to glimpse what has been defined because the 'workshop' of Adorno?s proposal. As such, they supply an amazing access element for all scholars and students within the humanities and social sciences who're attracted to Adorno?s paintings in addition to these looking to comprehend the character of dialectical thinking.

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For this concept suggests a philosophy of origins - that is to say, a philosophy where the totality is in a certain sense unfolded on the basis of an absolutely first principle. And, indeed, when we speak of 'system' we generally think of a seamless and wholly self-contained structure of thought, something we would describe in logical terms as a closed deductive context. And in a deductive context of this kind everything else is generally derived by inference from a single highest principle. If you proceed inductively, on the other hand, and instead of deriving everything from some such highest principle you attempt to advance from the particular to the universal, then, according to traditional logical doctrine, you can never be completely certain of the matter in question.

1, book 1: Der Produktionsprozess des Kapitals, Berlin, 1962, p. 27; K. Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes, Harmondsworth, 1976, p . 102). Here Marx defends his 'dialectical method' against his critics by drawing a distinction between the 'form of presentation' [Darstellungsweise] and the 'form of inquiry' [Forschungsweise], and this raised the question whether Marx's conception of dialectic is merely a form which facilitates the systematic presentation of the subj ect matter or (also) represents the historical or genetic law of the subject matter itself.

When Hegel says that 'the truth is essentially result', you must take the expression 'essentially result' in its deepest and most serious sense. Perhaps from the inconspicuous example of this Hegelian phrase you can get a clear, and quite emphatic, sense of the full difference between traditional and dialectical thinking. For the phrase 'essentially result' does not mean that such a result springs forth as the conclusion of an extended method, after a long process of considered reflection. Those philosophies which appeal to some origin or first principle, in their various forms, could also say the same.

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