Adorno, Interpretation, and the Body

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Adorno sees experience as intrinsically interpretative. As interpretation requires normative constraints, in order to guide and channel this interpretative engagement, this opens the question of how experience acquires its motivating criteria. If experience is from the first criterially structured, how are these criteria acquired? Moreover, as these criteria are acquired in isolation from experience – as they are the precondition of that experience – are these criteria sensitive to the particularity of the experiences they produce? In order to address these questions, and the problems they threaten to create for Adorno’s epistemology, I look at Adorno’s theory of impulse and cognition. I argue that Adorno grounds the criterial structure of experience and reason in self-preservation. This provides both a motivation and a determining constraint on the criterial structure of experience. It is also a determining influence which is epistemically flexible and compatible with Adorno’s project of tracing the ‘non-identical’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-58
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Sept 2014

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