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 related pursuits, backgrounds, and a shared adventure of exile. but in the past, no publication has introduced them jointly. during this first comparative learn in their paintings, top students speak about divergences, divulge staggering affinities, and locate universal flooring among the 2 thinkers. This pioneering paintings recovers the relevance of Arendt and Adorno for modern political conception and philosophy and lays the basis for a serious knowing of political modernity: from universalistic claims for political freedom to the abyss of genocidal politics.
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Additional info for Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations
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.
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. Most important, survival of the catastrophe became a precondition and key presupposition of Adorno’s future thinking. 90 A crucial dimension of modernity’s self-awareness, as already suggested, is what Kant called the public use of reason. Hence the very concept of the intellectual whose specific origins can be traced to the Dreyfus Affair—an event with a deep antisemitic undercurrent that plays a significant role in Arendt’s account of the origins of totalitarianism—is inextricably bound to the fate of the public sphere.
Two decades later, she lovingly edited these and other texts of Benjamin’s, translated into English by Harry Zohn, into a volume titled Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. The ironic contempt for the doctrine of “historical materialism” expressed by Benjamin via the metaphor of the chess-playing puppet was undoubtedly shared by Arendt and Blücher. Blücher, who had been a member of the Spartacist league in Berlin, founded by Rosa Luxemburg, broke with his faction after her death and escaped to Paris ahead of the German police.
Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations by Lars Rensmann, Samir Gandesha