File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0112, message 4

Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 11:50:23 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Re: BHA: Adorno

Hi all,

Some comments, I don't want to interrupt so interesting conversation 
although it is a pity in having a realist dialectical philosophy that 
there is not much toughts or arguments, which try to understand Adorno's 
negative dialectics after Bhaskar's 'Dialectic'.

> Hi Howard,
> That was a fantastic post.  
> Here are some quick thoughts. First, the point about what our stance 
is towards nature is important. Adorno will say that you can't have the 
widespread domination of nature without having the widespread domination 
of people. If Bhaskar is right about the definition of natural science, 
then the relationship between such a stance towards nature and modern 
natural science is not as close as it would seem to be from the 
perspective of positivism. (Though when you read Bacon after Aristotle, 
you know you're in a different world, methodologically speaking.) Still, 
it's a problem for Adorno.
As for anyone is in philosophy, but Adorno's attempts to solve this 
problem was very sound. If Adorno did not succeed in it, as he also 
takes into accoutn, it is not a big issue in negative dialectics.

> Second, Adorno, I think, wants there to be an epistemological limit to 
reason. He likes this about Kant. Critical realism, by contrast, 
presents us with an *ontological* limit to reason.

But Adorno totally diverges Kant's solutions about transcendental 
realism, and can make it very explicitly.
> This creates an odd faces/candlesticks kind of situation: from 
Adorno's perspective, critical realism is a kind of identitiy thinking 
because it involves the idea that in principle at least there is nothing 
in nature that we can't know; from the perspective of critical realism, 
meanwhile, Adorno vacillates between (1) subsuming causality into 
thought, a la Kant (leaving himself with an impoverished conception of 
causality, which cannot sustain his own neo-Marxist political economy), 
and (2) adopting a realist conception of cause (even though he doesn't 
spell it out and certainly isn't working with RB's categories) but, as 
Howard argues, winding up nonetheless being stuck with an "object" which 
must remain mysterious. (In either case it's Kant, actually, and in both 
cases the primacy of the object seems weak, compared to the robust 
materialism of the early Bhaskar.)

Yes, this is the core issue in negative dialectics in my mind: Adorno 
tries to have intransitive dimension and in dialectic method it is not 
possible without leaving social domain in its forms and contents aside 
in self-reflection. Because there was more broad reflection possible in 
this philosophy.

> The thing is, Adorno, I think, will say that a theory of knowledge in 
which the subject can know everything is necessarily ideological, in the 
context of a society in which subjects are alienated from nature and 
from one another. My tentative response to this would be to say that in 
critical realism the divide between subject and object is not encoded in 
the epistemology because it is acknowledged explicitly in the ontology 
-- an ontology which in some sense actually supplants the epistemology. 
I would also say that Adorno loses the specificity of the relationships 
between different pairings of subject and object (humans and nature; 
humans and eachother; concept and object; etc.) by referring to them all 
as "subject and object" and assuming that the relationship between 
subject and object in each case is identical. I would also say just as 
an observation that while Adorno thinks of ideal reconciliation in terms 
of *real* "identity" between subject and object, for the earl!

Yes, this was Adorno's problem of having contents as real, because of 
this dualism. But he tried to solve it, and it can be seen that without 
Bhaskar's notions and categories of negation it is not possible. But on 
the other hand, those categories do not really arise as real in thinking 
in terms of dialectic method, to which thinking 'mode' Adorno so heavily 
was forced to cling to, and explicitly made again by himself.

> y Bhaskar the relationship is always and necessarily asymmetrical; 
reconciliation doesn't close the ontological gap.

After Bhaskar's kategorial notions of negation in 'Dialectic' it is 
possible for human being to understand relationships without 
preconceptualizations whether relationships are to be noticed in 
thinking in open totality and not in the realm of subject-object dualism 
as it is in dialectic method.
> Okay it's 2am. Gotta go to sleep. These are just some musings. Thank 
you, Howard, for such a good post. I'll look forward to hearing what 
others have to say.
> r.

best regards,

Martti Puttonen 

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