File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0307, message 40

Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 00:38:14 -0400
Subject: Re: BHA: Adorno subject-object

Hi guys,

Jamie had asked if anyone had any thoughts on what Adorno means by:

'The crude confrontation of subject and object in naive realism is indeed
historically necessary and not removable by any act of will.'

I had said:

He means to say that the idea that there is pure, inner subjectivity (on the one
hand) and then pure outer objectivity (on the other) itself
reflects/expresses/is a product of a social reality in which subjects really are
unfree, really are unable to exercise conscious control over their lives
(including over the social relationships that determine the character of their
experience).  So Cartesian dualism (and even Kant's residual unknowable
thing-in-itself) is true in the sense that it expresses a real social condition.
 The subject/object divide is thus ideological in the classical sense of the
term -- a false but real appearance. (Parenthetically, this is why, or the sense
in which, he likes Kant better than Hegel.  In Hegel he sees a reconciliation of
subject and object that is illusory -- same as Marx.)  So Hegel, he thinks,
doesn't flag, philosophically - through a split between subject and object - the
real problem of reification.

It seems this wasn't very helpful (!), as Jamie then wrote: 
> A bit more confused now, Cartesian dualism is true (socially necessary in
> some point in time for Adorno)?

Is it any better if I say not that there is something "true" about the idea that
there is an absolute split between subject and object, but rather that
reification is real, and that Cartesian dualism expresses this reality
philosophically?   Adorno's approach to modern philosophy is very much the same
kind of approach that Marx takes to Hegel: that ideologically encrypted in the
philosophy is an accurate reading of the social conditions.

Tell me more, if that doesn't make sense.

Been on a train for 18 hrs.  Gotta crash.


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