Sub-Abstract Bodies: The Epistemic and Ethical Role of the Body-Mind Relationship in Adorno’s Philosophy

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The aim of this paper is threefold. In the first place, I should like to show that Adorno’s philosophy is dependent, to a degree perhaps not always directly recognized in the literature, on a deeply contentious view on the relationship between the mind and the body. In order to show this, I explore and bring out the epistemic and ethical stakes for Adorno’s theory of the relationship between mind and body. Secondly, I move to better articulate precisely what Adorno’s view on the nature of this relationship is. I hold that his position revolves around positing a porous boundary between the domains of the somatic and the cognitive. In closing, I show that Adorno’s account relies on this domain boundary being unidirectionally porous, in that determination of somatic impulses by cognitive content does not seem a live option for Adorno. I go on to note that this smuggles in a dubious position which does a lot of unearned work. The stakes which his implicit account of the body and mind relationship served to secure thereby come once more to look highly vulnerable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-478
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2015

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