Owen Hulatt (University of York) has written to us letting us know about the publication of his new book, Adorno’s Theory of Philosophical and Aesthetic Truth. The book promises to be an important and powerful new approach to Adorno and art. Here is the blurb from Columbia University Press:
In Adorno’s Theory of Philosophical and Aesthetic Truth, Owen Hulatt undertakes an original reading of Theodor W. Adorno’s epistemology and its material underpinnings, deepening our understanding of his theories of truth, art, and the nonidentical. Hulatt’s novel interpretation casts Adorno’s theory of philosophical and aesthetic truth as substantially unified, supporting the thinker’s claim that both philosophy and art are capable of being true.
For Adorno, truth is produced when rhetorical “texture” combines with cognitive “performance,” leading to the breakdown of concepts that mediate the experience of the consciousness. Both philosophy and art manifest these features, although philosophy enacts these conceptual issues directly, while art does so obliquely. Hulatt builds a robust argument for Adorno’s claim that concepts ineluctably misconstrue their objects. He also puts the still influential thinker into conversation with Hegel, Husserl, Frazer, Sohn-Rethel, Benjamin, Strawson, Dahlhaus, Habermas, and Caillois, among many others.
Christophe David (University of Rennes 2) writes about a conference they are organizing on Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory in October of 2017. They have provided us with a very extensive CFP, and it is attached here.
Martin Jay (UC-Berkeley) has a new book called Reason after its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory (University of Wisconsin, 2016), that ought to be of interest to readers. Here’s a blurb on the book:
Martin Jay tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor? Applying the tools of intellectual history, he examines the overlapping, but not fully compatible, meanings that have accrued to the term “reason” over two millennia, homing in on moments of crisis, critique, and defense of reason.
After surveying Western ideas of reason from the ancient Greeks through Kant, Hegel, and Marx, Jay engages at length with the ways leading theorists of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Marcuse, Adorno, and most extensively Habermas—sought to salvage a viable concept of reason after its apparent eclipse. They despaired, in particular, over the decay in the modern world of reason into mere instrumental rationality. When reason becomes a technical tool of calculation separated from the values and norms central to daily life, then choices become grounded not in careful thought but in emotion and will—a mode of thinking embraced by fascist movements in the twentieth century.
Is there a more robust idea of reason that can be defended as at once a philosophical concept, a ground of critique, and a norm for human emancipation? Jay explores at length the communicative rationality advocated by Habermas and considers the range of arguments, both pro and con, that have greeted his work.
James Schmidt (Boston University) has two wonderful posts on the history of this manuscript, and his remarkable discovery of a missing English translation by Adorno himself. More here and here, and check out his blog.
The following symposium may be of interest to our readers:
The Right to Freedom: A Symposium on Critical Theory
Date: 6–7 May 2014
Venue: Woburn Suite (G22/26, Ground Floor), Institute of Philosophy, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
I’ve been asked to share the following site dedicated to a London Reading Group for Adorno:
We have added a blogroll (conveniently located on the right), and wanted to take this moment to alert everyone to James Schmidt‘s wonderful blog, Persistent Enlightenment, which, given his own research on Horkheimer and Adorno, often has much of interest for anyone interested in Adorno (as it does today, with a post on Adorno and Katia and Thomas Mann).
If you have a blog that might be of interest to our readers, please let us know.