Who is Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno?June 26, 2021
He is a German thinker who lived between 1903-1969 and worked in the fields of sociology, psychology and musicology, and is one of the philosophical architects of the “critical theory” of the Frankfurt School.
Adorno, who was passionate about philosophy and music from an early age, studied musicology and philosophy at the university. Although he originally wanted to be a composer, setbacks in his music career pushed him to philosophy. In 1938, when Nazism was on the rise in Germany, he went to America and settled in New York, and from there he went to Los Angeles and became a lecturer at the University of California. After the end of the Second World War, he returned to his country, Germany, and became a lecturer at the university in Frankfurt. He died at the age of 66 while on vacation in Switzerland.
Adorno was a professor of sociology and philosophy. He was a musicologist and critic who was also a composer. He is also known as a sociologist, as the focus of his thoughts is the whole of the social critique. The “first emergence form of thought” in the identification of the objective, while representing the dialectic of the ideological critique, had to accept its existence unmediatedly on the plane of truth, the immediacy that he seems to share by trying to be a mediator, which is still dispersed in all its stages. It’s like carrying an essay, which is kneaded with will at a philosophical critical point reached without going beyond the limits of logic, and which has a calming feature by being fed with objective data without looking back, beyond the place where the thought originates.
As a philosopher and social scientist, Adorno’s assessment in the “Blinding coexistence of citizenship”, which he tried to objectify in all its objectivity in the context of totalitarian antisemitism and the cultural identity and critique of the university student movement in the 1950s, in the Institut für Sozialforschung (Frankfurt School of Social Studies Institute), has not lost its importance today. important for.
Adorno argues that the mind is not objective, and that man cannot be his own subject in this sense, and tries to reveal the deception of philosophy until today. The reason why the mind cannot be objective is that man cannot be the subject of his own life. His theories on society reflect a general pessimism. According to him, in the society surrounded by bureaucracy, administration and technocracy, the individual himself is in the past. Concentrated capital, planning and mass culture have largely destroyed individual freedoms and the ability to think critically has been replaced by a fully reified social consciousness. He thinks of breaking the influence of ideologies and destroying the foundations of closed thought systems with his texts written in the form of aphorisms with his provocative style, “Those who think cannot be aggressive”.
This unconventional attitude tries to prevent an uncritical affirmation of society. Thus, it aims not only for the reader to think, but also to reconstruct his thoughts critically. In a way, Adorno’s personal work goes far beyond the general orientations of the School, because Adorno, in a sense, continues to work at the point where critical theory reaches its limits and develops his unique method in these studies. In addition to the works he carried out with Horkheimer, the depth and specificity of his personal works, from the content to the discourse structure, is remarkable. His personal masterpiece, Minima Moralia, has a special place in this regard. This book presents his method and understanding in a profound and interesting way. Adorno always resists the tendency of thought to shut itself in. In a sense, he sees the source and origin of all kinds of despotism and domination relations where the possibility of thinking is limited and inhibited.
Also please see:
– Intellect is a moral category
– Frankfurt school and critical theory
– Society and ideology
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook