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Summer 2021: Adorno's Negative Dialectics

"Adorno seems to mean that critical consciousness, including his own, is almost impossible. History, in some sense, has come to a halt. Negative Dialectics is an attempt to break out of this unbreakable paradox and to invite others to do the same. . . . Anyone who is involved in the possibility of Marxism as a mode of cognition sui generis, at a time when critical consciousness can no longer be even 'imputed' to an ideal-typical class . . . must read Adorno's book."
-- Gillian Rose, Review of Adorno's Negative Dialectics (1976)

( • required / + recommended readings)

Required background reading:
• Chris Cutrone, "Revolution without Marx? Rousseau, Kant and Hegel" (2013); Review of Andrew Feenberg, The Philosophy of Praxis (2015); "Why still read Lukacs? The place of 'philosophical' questions in Marxism" (2014); "Ends of philosophy" (2018); "On philosophy and Marxism" (2020); and “The negative dialectic of Marxism” (2021)

Recommended supplemental reading:
+ Adorno, Lectures on Negative Dialectics; History and Freedom; Introduction to Dialectics; Ontology and Dialectics; Metaphysics: Concepts and Problems

Primary sources:
• Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics (1966, trans. E.B. Ashton, 1973)
+ Alternate translation by Dennis Redmond (2001/2021) [2021 updated PDF]

Charts of terms:
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
+ Kant's 3 Critiques [PNG] and philosophy [PNG] chart of terms
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 
Commodity form chart of terms
Reification chart of terms
+ Adorno's critique of actionism chart of terms

Week 1: June 5, 2021

• Gillian Rose, Review of Adorno's Negative Dialectics (1976)
• Theodor W. Adorno, "Why still philosophy?", Critical Models pp. 5-17 (322-325nn.)
• Chris Cutrone, "Ends of philosophy" (2018); "On philosophy and Marxism" (2020); and “The negative dialectic of Marxism” (2021)

Week 2: June 12, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Prologue (Preface and Introduction) 
(The Possibility of Philosophy 3 Dialectics Not a Standpoint 4 Reality and Dialectics 6 The Concern of Philosophy 8 The Antagonistic Entirety 10 Disenchantment of the Concept 11 “Infinity” 13 The Speculative Moment 15 Presentation 18 Attitude Toward Systems 20 Idealism as Rage 22 The Twofold Character of the System 24 The Antinomical Character of Systems 26 Argument and Experience 28 Vertiginousness 31 Fragility of Truth 33 Against Relativism 35 Dialectics and Solidity 37 The Privilege of Experience 40 Qualitative Moment of Rationality 43 Quality and Individual 44 Substantiality and Method 47 Existentialism 49 Thing, Language, History 52 Tradition and Knowledge 53 Rhetoric 55)

Week 3: June 19, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part One: Relation to Ontology: I. The Ontological Need
(Question and Answer 61 Affirmative Character 65 Incapacitation of the Subject 66 Being, Subject, Object 69 Ontological Objectivism 70 The Disappointed Need 72 “Deficiency=Profit” 76 No Man’s Land 77 Unsuccessful Realism 78 On Categorical Vision 80 Being 83 “Sense of Being” 85 Ontology Prescribed 87 Protest Against Reification 89 The Wrong Need 92 Weakness and Support 94)

Week 4: June 26, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part One: Relation to Ontology: II. Being and Existence
(Immanent Critique of Ontology 97 Copula 100 No Transcendence of Being 105 Expressing the Inexpressible 108The Child’s Question 110 The Question of Being 112 Looping the Loop 115 Mythology of Being 117 Ontologization of the Ontical 119 Function of the Concept of Existence 122 “Dasein in Itself Ontological” 124 The Nominalistic Aspect 126 Existence Authoritarian 127 “Historicality” 128)

Week 5: July 3, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Two: Negative Dialectics: Concepts and Categories
(The Indissoluble “Something” 134 Compulsory Sustantiveness 136 “Peephole Metaphysics” 137 Noncontradictoriness Not to be Hypostatized 139 Relation to Left-wing Hegelianism 143 “Logic of Disintegration” 144 On the Dialectics of Identity 146 Cogitative Self-reflection 148 Objectivity of Contradiction 151 Starting Out from the Concept 153 Synthesis 156 Critique of Positive Negation 158 Individuality Not the Ultimate Either 161 Constellation 162 Constellation in Science 164 Essence and Appearance 166 Indirectness by Objectivity 170 Particularity and the Particular 173 Subject-Object Dialectics 174 Reversal of the Subjective Reduction 176 Interpreting the Transcendental 178 “Transcendental Delusion” 180 The Object’s Preponderance 183 The Object Not a Datum 186 Objectivity and Reification 189 Passage to Materialism 192 Materialism and Immediacy 194 Dialectics Not a Sociology of Knowledge 197 The Concept of Mind 198 Pure Activity and Genesis 200 Suffering Physical 202 Materialism Imageless 204)

Week 6: July 10, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Three: Models: I. Freedom
(On The Metacritique of Practical Reason 211 “Pseudoproblems” 211 A Split in the Concern with Freedom 214 Freedom, Determinism, Identity 216 Freedom and Organized Society 217 The Impulse Before the Ego 221 Experimenta crucis 223 The Addendum 226 The Fiction of Positive Freedom 231 Unfreedom of Thought 233 “Formalism” 235 The Will as a Thing 237 Objectivity in the Antinomy 239 Dialectical Definition of the Will 241 Contemplation 244 Structure of the Third Antinomy 246 Kant’s Concept of Causality 247 The Plea for Order 249 The Antithetical Argument 252 Ontical and Ideal Moments 255 Repressive Character of the Doctrine of Freedom 260 Self-experience of Freedom and Unfreedom 261 The Crisis of Causality 265 Causality as a Spell 269 Reason, Ego, Super-ego 270 Potential of Freedom 274 Against Personalism 276 Depersonalization and Existential Ontology 279 Universal and Individual in the Philosophy of Morals 281 On the State of Freedom 285 Kant’s “Intelligible Character” 287 Intelligibility and the Unity of Consciousness 292 Truth Content of the Doctrine of Intelligibility 297)

Week 7: July 17, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Three: Models: II. World Spirit and Natural History
(An Excursion to Hegel 300 Trend and Facts 300 Construction of the World Spirit 303 “Harmonizing with the World Spirit” 305 The Unleashing of Productive Forces 306 Group Spirit and Dominion 307 The Legal Sphere 309 Law and Equity 310 Individualistic Veil 312 Dynamics of Universal and Particular 313 Spirit as a Social Totality 314 Historical Reason Antagonistic 317 Universal History 319 Antagonism Contingent? 321 The Supramundance Character of the Hegelian World Spirit 323 Hegel Siding with the Universal 326 Relapse into Platonism 329 Detemporalization of Time 331 Dialectics Cut Short by Hegel 334 The Role of the Popular Spirit 338 Popular Spirit Obsolete 340 Individuality and History 342 The Spell 344 Regression Under the Spell 347 Subject and Individual 349 Dialectics and Psychology 351 “Natural History” 354 History and Metaphysics 358)

Week 8: July 24, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Three: Models: III. Meditations on Metaphysics
(After Auschwitz 361 Metaphysics and Culture 365 Dying Today 368 Happiness and Idle Waiting 373 “Nihilism” 376 Kant’s Resignation 381 Rescuing Urge and Block 384 Mundus intelligibilis 390 Neutralization 393 “Only a Parable” 399 The Semblance of Otherness 402 Self-Reflection of Dialectics 405) 
+ Cutrone, "Ends of philosophy" (2018); "On philosophy and Marxism" (2020); and “The negative dialectic of Marxism” (2021)

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