By Simon Jarvis
Jarvis bargains an advent to the highbrow and institutional contexts for Adorno's notion, and examines his contributions to social concept, cultural conception, aesthetics and philosophy. He demonstrates the iconic coherence and explanatory energy of Adorno's paintings and illustrates its carrying on with relevance to modern debates.
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Additional info for Adorno: A Critical Introduction
Freedom from the blind compulsion of nature does not, in the event, remove compulsion altogether; instead it is won at the cost of self-blinding social and psychological compulsion. Odysseus, the master, is also mastered and self-masted. Domination over nature is paid for with the naturaliiation of social domination. 17 A striking feature of this kind of analysis of the entanglement of power and rationality is the extent to which domination is argued to be coeval with sociality. 1‘ Class domination appears with the division of labour, most archaically, with a division between intellectual or spiritual labour and manual labour: there is class domination before there is capitalist class domination.
Enlightenment’, then, is u s d by Adorno and Horkheimer as a way of refemng to any operation of sceptical demytholog~ationas such. One of the most important of such operations, in their view, affects language itself. They suggest that modern rationality has progressively confined language to two equally one-sided functions: ‘Asa system of signs, language is required to resign itself to calculation in order to know nature, and must discard the claim to be like nature. ’” Adorno thinks that this division has not yet become complete - indeed that it could not become complete without making thinking itself impossible.
Marx's insistence that 'History can be considered from two sides, the history of nature and the history of mankind. Yet there is no separating the two sides; as long as human beings exist, M ~ U Iand - ~ human history will condition each other's8 is the model for Adorno's nondogmatic materialism. '" This remark contains in embryo Adorno's entire negative philosophy of history. Philosophy of history cannot be escaped by appeals to sheer historical or geographical discontinuity. Such appeals remain more metaphysical than their intended target.
Adorno: A Critical Introduction by Simon Jarvis