File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0112, message 6

Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 11:16:04 -0800
Subject: BHA: Adorno and Kant

Hi Martti,

I wrote:
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.

You wrote:
But Adorno totally diverges Kant's solutions about transcendental realism, and can make it very explicitly.

Yes; Adorno does not simply think that Kant got everything right. But he likes the fact that there is a limit to reason, in Kant. He likes it for at least two reasons, I think. 

First, a limit to reason at the level of philosophy such as you get in Kant provides, at the level of theory, a basis upon which to resist what Adorno sees as the totalizing ill social/historical effects of instrumental rationality and scientism. If reason has limits, he thinks, then this fact gives us something, at least, with which to resist its hegemony. Hegel does not offer this wedge. 

Second, he thinks that the limit that Kant ends up placing on reason expresses, in abstract form, the real irrationality of capitalist social relationships, in which there is a real divide between subject and object. Hegel's system does not capture this; it is more thoroughly ideological than Kant's in that it does not register, if only abstractly, real estrangement. 

I'm not saying that I agree with Adorno about any of this. This is what I meant, though, in saying that he likes the limit to reason in Kant.


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