By Lars Rensmann, Samir Gandesha
Hannah Arendt and Theodor W. Adorno, of the main influential political philosophers and theorists of the 20 th century, have been contemporaries with comparable pursuits, backgrounds, and a shared event of exile. but formerly, no e-book has introduced them jointly. during this first comparative research in their paintings, best students talk about divergences, expose miraculous affinities, and locate universal flooring among the 2 thinkers. This pioneering paintings recovers the relevance of Arendt and Adorno for modern political idea and philosophy and lays the root for a severe knowing of political modernity: from universalistic claims for political freedom to the abyss of genocidal politics.
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Extra info for Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations
Given the history of the late twentieth century, of the “ethnic cleansing” of Srebenica, of the killing fields of Rwanda, of the nightmarish images of terror attacks, such moral and political imperatives, sadly, retain all of their force well into the twentyfirst century. Adorno’s and Arendt’s reappropriations of the tradition, and the implications of their thought for contemporary philosophy, are the subject of the first section of this book. Seyla Benhabib demonstrates in her contribution that there is one shared dimension of Arendt’s and Adorno’s critiques of classical German Idealism that stands out: the rejection by both of false universals, posited primarily by the Hegelian system.
Initially, Adorno clearly underestimated the impact of the Nazi rule. Although he was forced to give up his teaching position at the University of Frankfurt in 1933, he continued to hope during the first years of Nazi rule that the Spuk (spook, haunting) would soon be over. Such early naïve misperceptions soon gave way to drastic implications for Adorno’s thinking after his escape from Nazi Germany and the Shoah. These experiences enhanced his self-understanding as a “homeless intellectual” and the radicalization of a conceptual distance from a society that could no longer be trusted.
This is indicative of the semblance character of art—that is, the idea of the new rather than its material actualization. Nonetheless, such semblance is vitally important as modernity’s promise, namely, that of a wholly secular, immanent form of life. At the same time, Adorno was unable to show how this promise, as manifested within the aesthetic, could be translated as the collective praxis of which it is a cipher. ” While there can be no doubt that any critical notion of “political modernity” depends on the normative idea of autonomy, such an idea, particularly in its Kantian form (which reiterates the dualism between duty and inclination, sensibility and rational will), is not without significant problems.