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By Simon Jarvis

Jarvis deals an advent to the highbrow and institutional contexts for Adorno's suggestion, and examines his contributions to social thought, cultural thought, aesthetics and philosophy. He demonstrates the iconic coherence and explanatory strength of Adorno's paintings and illustrates its carrying on with relevance to modern debates.

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Instead it aims against the closure of the possibility of new historical experience which it sees both in an affirmative metaphysic of history and in the mythical redundance and invariance of positivist historiography. The work rejects the pessimistic theory that human nature is irrevocably founded on domination. But it also wjects the cultural idealist denial that there can be anything natural in social life, the insistence that social life is cultural ’all the way down’. Once more this furnishes a critical point of Adorno‘s engagement with the Marxist tradition.

M The interpretation set out by Schnadelbach implies a much more abstract relationship to empirical enquiry than is actually operative hem. Like Adorno's social thought in general, then, the Dialectic of Eil/ightenmerit needs to be conceived of not as the liquidation of empirical 'facts' from some higher or more primordial domain of w d o m , by means of an originary 'social myth', but instead as a 'rebellion of experience against empiricism'. It is partly a way of hying to understand, that is, how it has come about that social- 43 scientific empiricism, a programme of social science whose whole point was to do justice to the spedicity of social experience, has usually ended up giving a very abstract account of social exprience indeed.

B7 But this posits a clean break between thought and being. On the one hand we have the rational theorist, who ought to be free of all contradiction, on the other the a-rational matter which is to be theorized. We are confronted in the very language of Schniidelbach's criticisms by the repetition around which the Dialectic of Edi~hterrmrrrtis constructed. Unilateral declarations of independence from metaphysics end up not in the least heed from metaphysics, but simply deploying metaphysical identifications and oppositions in an insufficiently thematized form.

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