[OPE-L:7996] Re: Re: Adorno and the 'organic composition of man'

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 12 2002 - 21:19:32 EST

>Re [7985]:
>A fuller excerpt from Adorno on the 'organic composition  of man'  is at:
>Quotation begins:  "The organic composition of man is growing."
>The original source is his 1951 book _Minima Moralia: Reflections
>From a Damaged Life_  (London, Verso, 1974, pp. 229-230).
>In solidarity, Jerry

A few years ago  the following book on Adorno by a Harvard Professor 
of Medicine  was recommended to me; it is indeed lucid and excellent, 
and I fear that it has been unduly neglected because it is 
unpretentious and because the author seemingly comes from outside the 
disciplines of literature and philosophy (though this book is his 
Yale philosophy dissertation). At any rate, Krakauer's writing  has 
that same capacity as John Holloway's work to make Frankfurt School 
philosophy a living, earthly, engaging and unpretentious critique. In 
my opinion, a new student would become more engaged in critical 
theory by either of these books than, say, Seyla Benhabib's tight but 
overly formal Critique, Norm and Utopia or Stephen Eric Bronner's 
brilliantly succinct but also formal  Of Critical Theory and Its 
Theorists.  Of course Krakauer's Adorno is ultimately simply outside 
the Marxian system while John's critique develops immanently out of 
Marx's work and the contradictions between positivism and criticism 
therein (of course John has non Marxist sources of inspiration--for 
example, the great Linton Kwesi Johnson and above all the Zapatistas 
) . I am much more convinced by John's development of critical theory 
than Krakauer's.  Also: While Krakauer turns Adorno against Benjamin, 
I was left hoping that someone would turn Benjamin against Adorno...

The Disposition of the Subject: Reading Adorno's Dialectic of Technology
Eric L. Krakauer


 From The Publisher
The unprecedented mass manipulation, mass death, and trauma of World 
War II created a heightened interest in technology and 
totalitarianism among European and American intellectuals. In The 
Disposition of the Subject, Eric Krakauer explores Theodor Adorno's 
attempt to hinder further atrocity through philosophical analysis of 
technology and of its contribution to totalitarianisms of various 
kinds: political, aesthetic, and epistemological.

Starting with an elucidation of Adorno's discovery of a dark side to 
the Enlightenment, of its culmination in totalitarian thinking, and 
of the central role of the technologies of the culture industry in 
this process, Krakauer examines Adorno's "negative dialectical" 
critique and situates Adorno's work in relation to Hegel, Marx, 
Benjamin, and Heidegger. Arguing that Adorno's method is a type of 
reading that reveals itself most clearly in Adorno's texts on 
aesthetics, language, and foreign words, Krakauer finds in Adorno's 
writing a complex, nondialectical differentiating that radically 
threatens totalitarianisms, gives Adorno's work an affinity to that 
of Derrida and de Man, and sheds new light on the relationship among 
philosophy, subjectivity, trauma, and social suffering.

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