Enduring Crisis and Critique: Adorno's Negative Dialectics and Sites for a Critique of Political Economy Open Access

Nemli, Osman Ahmet (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/pz50gw69v?locale=en


My dissertation constructs a critique of political economy from the negative dialectical philosophy of Theodor W. Adorno. Adorno's critique of political economy is a prismatic approach to the issue of political economy, and shows the two-way, dialectical relationship between the non-economic sphere and the economic sphere. It is site-based and presents the interrelations between those two spheres. The first chapter offers a historical and philosophical account of Marx's critique of political economy; it sees how such a critique functions, what the main concepts and methods used by Marx are, and what thus constitutes the object of inquiry for one critiquing political economy. My second chapter looks at the ways in which 'thinking economically' has changed the conditions for critique. 'Thinking economically', as Adorno calls it, no longer operates as critique, but rather is an apology for the very system that it attempts to show the limits of. The third chapter examines what Adorno calls the 'unconscious of the concept' - that is, assumptions and hidden tendencies operative in thought - that a critique must make conscious. The fourth chapters addresses the differences between Adorno's negative dialectical philosophy and Hegel's dialectical philosophy, responding to problems operating in Adorno's approach. These problems include: Adorno's making conscious what is unconscious in the concept; that his way of thinking not fall prey to being a Hegelian 'unhappy consciousness'; that he not fetishize and hypostatize the priority of the object; and that his negative dialectics not lead to a bad infinity. The fifth chapter examines Adorno's aesthetics. In particular, it looks at the work of art as a particular object scarred by totality. This scarred totality, however, continues society's domination of nature via the idea of the beautiful. Adorno's aesthetics of the sublime offers a corrective to the violence of the idea of the beautiful upon natural beauty. The sixth chapter focuses on Adorno's critique of exchange society, more generally, and how one might change or exchange a society for which exchange is its raison d'être.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Marx's Critique of Political Economy and its Fetish 18

Introduction - Critique and/of Political Economy - The Historical - Key Concepts: The Commodity, Labor-Power, and Surplus - Conclusion

Chapter 2: The Critique of 'Thinking Economically' 46

Introduction - Thinking Economically Alongside the Critique of Political Economy - The Role and Place of the Intellectual - Fragmentary Philosophical Practice

Chapter 3: The Critique of Concept Fetishism and the Unconscious of the Concept 77

Introduction - Concept Fetishism - (Pre-)History of the Unconscious of the Concept

Chapter 4: Irreconcilable Hegel Amidst the Ruins of Negative Dialectics 108

Introduction - The Economy of Negative Dialectics - Adorno and/as Unhappy Consciousness - Nonidentity, Resisting Affirmation - Absolute Negativity and Philosophy 'after Auschwitz' - Conclusion

Chapter 5: The Scarred Particular (as Domination of Nature) Seen in Art's DoubleCharacter 138

Introduction - Antinomies, and Art's Endgame - The Work of Art, Nature, Beauty, and the Sublime - Extra-Aesthetic Concerns within Aesthetics - Mimesis in Response to Contradictions within (Subject and) Object - Conclusion

Chapter 6: The Scarred Particularity from the Perspective of Totality: The Culture Industry and Exchanging Society 170

Introduction - The Culture Industry: Anti-Enlightenment - Society: A Total Object Unlike Any Other - Exchange Society - Conclusion

Conclusion; Or, Lessons for Education 198

Works Cited 210

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