Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Highway of DespairCritical Theory After Hegel$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robyn Marasco

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168663

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168663.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno


(p.81) 3 Theodor W. Adorno
The Highway of Despair

Robyn Marasco

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that Theodor W. Adorno's philosophy about despair has been poorly understood by his critics, one of them being Jürgen Habermas. He argued that Adorno betrayed the “rational content of cultural modernity” to an unyielding logic of domination, resulting in a critique of Enlightenment without “any dynamism upon which critique could base its hope.” For Habermas, despair should be considered as the philosophical problem that originated in a bad philosophy (which starts with Nietzsche) that was resolved with good philosophy (which starts with Kant). However, in expressing this notion, Habermas treated critical philosophy as a rescue operation. This treatment may cause the objective history of despair to fall into obscurity, and may compel the passions to give way to the primacy of communicative reason.

Keywords:   Jürgen Habermas, Theodor W. Adorno, cultural modernity, critical philosophy, communicative reason

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .