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Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society

Theodor W. Adorno



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Polity Press
04 June 2019
As an exile in America during the War, Theodor Adorno grew acquainted with the fundamentals of empirical social research, something which would shape the work he undertook in the early 1950s as co-director of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research. Yet he also became increasingly aware of the 'fetishism of method' in sociology, and saw the serious limitations of theoretical work based solely on empirical findings.

In this lecture course given in 1964, Adorno develops a critique of both sociology and philosophy, emphasizing that theoretical work requires a specific mediation between the two disciplines. Adorno advocates a philosophical approach to social theory that challenges the drive towards uniformity and a lack of ambiguity, highlighting instead the fruitfulness of experience, in all its messy complexity, for critical social analysis. At the same time, he shows how philosophy must also realise that it requires sociology if it is to avoid falling for the old idealistic illusion that the totality of real conditions can be grasped through thought alone.

Masterfully bringing together philosophical and empirical approaches to an understanding of society, these lectures from one of the most important social thinkers of the 20th century will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, sociology and the social sciences generally.

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By:   Theodor W. Adorno
Imprint:   Polity Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   294g
ISBN:   9780745679488
ISBN 10:   074567948X
Pages:   192
Publication Date:   04 June 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969), a prominent member of the Frankfurt School, was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century in the areas of social theory, philosophy and aesthetics.

Reviews for Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society

Against the alleged waning of Adorno's radical commitments in his last years, these lectures of 1964 on the relationship between social theory and empirical research testify to his abiding Marxist loyalties. Exhorting his students to pierce the technological veil of their administered world, he insists on the power of class, reified consciousness, and the impoverishment of experience in the irrational totality of late capitalism. Martin Jay, Berkeley

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