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The Highway of DespairCritical Theory After Hegel$
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Robyn Marasco

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168663

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168663.001.0001

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Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno

Aporetics

Chapter:
(p.81) 3 Theodor W. Adorno
Source:
The Highway of Despair
Author(s):

Robyn Marasco

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168663.003.0004

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

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