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In search of a philosophy of praxis in Adornos negative dialectics By Terje Steinulfsson Skjerdal Centre for Cultural and Media Studies University of Natal Durban South Africa 1997 AbstractThis paper evaluates Theodor Adornos work in light of Karl Marxs preference to expand ideology beyond the mere theoretical framework Particular attention is paid to Adornos Dialectic of Enlightenment which he authored with Max Horkheimer The concepts of culture and modernity are most important in this matter The conclusion remains that Adorno diverges significantly from Marx both in his interpretation of modernity and his proposed possibilities for change Content Framework philosophy as a vehicle for change Adornos interpretation of modern culture pessimism in its fullest extent Adorno vs Marx a troubled relationship Adorno and the possibility of change logically inconceivable Framework philosophy as a vehicle for change In introducing the expression the philosophy of praxis Antonio Gramsci 1971 captured well the intention of Karl Marxs philosophical project namely to bring about a philosophy that was not merely a philosophy per se but also a philosophy that actually sought to change the world for the better To investigate whether Marx succeeded in his project is not at stake here Rather we will look into the thoughts of Theodor W Adorno whose aim was in part to advance the Marxian project to an application of contemporary culture Our argument is twofold Firstly that the works of Adorno must be read as an imperative cry for change secondly that Adornos concern nonetheless was more that of a pessimistic interpretation than that of an optimistic action The observant reader will notice that we fail to answer to what extent the thoughts of Adorno actually has led to change of any kind The objection is sound We will namely to no degree claim to prove the link between theory and practice On the contrary it is our proposition that such a link can hardly be established
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