The eschatological dimension of Adorno's thought / by Gary A. Mullen
Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-192)
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This dissertation explores the role of eschatology in the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno. In contrast to much of the current scholarship on Adorno, this dissertation treats eschatological hope as a central theme permeating every facet of Adorno's inquiry into the materiality of the subject. I argue that, in Adorno's thought, the eschatological hope for reconciliation is intrinsic to the struggles, suffering and yearning of the material subject. Absent an understanding of the cohesion of eschatology and materiality, Adorno's thought becomes interpreted as an apology for resignation in the face of a hopelessly distorted society and an utterly impracticable eschatological longing. Such interpretations miss the potential of Adorno's thought to articulate the concrete human suffering, longing, and needs that call for an ethical, political response. Chapter One deals with Adorno's critique of the occlusion of materiality in modern subjectivity as a product of the subject's endeavor to attain complete domination over nature. Chapter Two follows Adorno's discussion of the ethical implications of severing subjectivity from materiality, and moral rationality from sensual fulfillment. Chapter Three deals with the political implications of modern subjectivity and its complicity in the horrific ideological distortions of National Socialism. Chapter Four draws attention to the centrality of the Holocaust as an event that calls for the radical reassessment of subjectivity. Chapter Five argues for the critical potential of eschatology, a potential denied by prominent commentators on Adorno, most notably Jurgen Habermas. In Chapter Six, Adorno's situation of metaphysics, and thought in general, in the particular is interpreted as a reorientation of philosophy toward the complexities of social interaction and politics.
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