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Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society

Hardback by Theodor W. Adorno
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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.

Product Details

Format: Hardback, 192 pages Language: English
Dimension: 23.11cm x 15.49cm x 2.03cm ISBN10: 0745679471
Weight: 408g ISBN13: 9780745679471
Publication Date: 18 Jan 2019 Publisher: Polity Press

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Review

"a joy to read"Marx & Philosophy Review of Books"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

About Author

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.

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