On Thinking the Tragic with Adorno
Nivalainen, M. (2016). On Thinking the Tragic with Adorno. European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 21 (7), 644-663. doi:10.1080/10848770.2016.1200276
Published inEuropean Legacy: Toward New Paradigms
© 2016 International Society for the Study of European Ideas. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
This article seeks to provide a template for understanding the tragic dimension of Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophy through a reading of his early collaborative work with Max Horkheimer, the Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944). While Adorno’s view has often been considered to be tragic, little has been done to reconstruct the tragic dimension of his thought. I argue that the view of the human condition, presented in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, is founded on metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical convictions that have structural similarities with the positions held by theorists and philosophers of tragedy and the tragic. Since traces of these tragic elements can be found throughout Adorno’s mature philosophy, the approach presented in this article may serve as a model for a more detailed mapping and examination of the tragic dimension of his thought in future research.