Theodor Adorno: Negative Dialektik [Negative Dialectics]

(3082 words)
  • Andrew Edgar (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Published in 1966, towards the end of his career, Negative Dialectics represents a summation of Adorno’s thoughts on philosophy, and in particular on the fields of metaphysics and epistemology. It would have been complemented by the Aesthetic Theory, that Adorno left unfinished upon his death, and a study of ethics.

Negative Dialectics begins with the observation that ‘Philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realise it was missed’ (Adorno 1973a, p. 3). This problem had elsewhere been framed as ‘why still philosophy?’ (Adorno 1998, p. 5). More precisely, it is the question of why philosophy is still necessary a century or more after Marx’s invocation to change the …

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Edgar, Andrew. "Negative Dialektik". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 May 2006
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]