Negative Dialectics and Critique of Economic Objectivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article explores Adorno’s negative dialectics as a critical social theory of economic objectivity. It rejects the conventional view that Adorno does not offer a critique the economic forms of capitalist society. The article holds that negative dialectics is a dialectics of the social world in the form of the economic object, one that is governed by the movement of economic quantities, that is, real economic abstractions. Negative dialectics refuses to accept the constituted economic categories as categories of economic nature. Instead, the article argues, it amounts to a conceptualised social praxis (begriffene Praxis) of the capitalistically constituted social relations, which manifest themselves in the form of seemingly independent economic categories. Economic nature is a socially constituted nature, which entails the class antagonism in its concept. The article concludes that for negative dialectics the explanation real economic abstractions lies in the understanding of the class divided nature of human practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-76
JournalHistory of the human sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2016. This is an author produced version of a paper published in History of the Human Sciences. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.

Cite this