Adorno and the metacritique of modern German systematic transcendental idealism
Abstract of dissertation entitled
"ADORNO AND THE METACRITIQUE OF MODERN GERMAN SYSTEMATIC TRANSCENDENTAL IDEALISM"
Julian von Will
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
at The University of Hong Kong
in December 2004
The following text presents an in-depth analysis on Theodor Adorno's lesser-known metacritique of German idealism. Pivoting upon his capital work Negative Dialectics, I shall endeavor to clarify and illuminate the historical succession and doctrinal arguments of transcendental idealism inaugurated by Kant's systematic subjective idealism evolved through Hegel's dialectical idealism, Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and Heidegger's Dasein ontology. Focusing upon the metascientific and epistemological foundations of truth and Being, the inquire narrows to Kant's demarcation and critical limitation of reason within the formation of scientific judgments of experience. Kant advances a systematic metalogical deduction of Descartes' subjectivism countenanced by Hume's empiricism and skepticism into a new twofold epistemological tectonic and representational theory of knowledge. Schematically overcoming the impasse between rational and empirical tenets within the modern school debate on the origin of knowledge, Kant divides epistemology from metaphysics limiting rationality to a transcendental apriorism locked between identitarian logical noncontradiction and intuitive spatiotemporal apprehension as the possible matrix of scientific judgmental verification. Kant advances delimited epistemological dualism and limited synthesis under his transcendental subjectivism as the objective "totality of the limited." Unwrapping the colossal systematic paradox within Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, displaying the self-limitation of knowledge and pure reason against an endless and timeless spatiotemporal nature, becomes the point of advance for the Post-Kantian German idealists. Kant was beyond his own criteria, using metaphysics to make an absolute judgment regarding the limitations of knowledge and reason as a whole. The German idealist used this against Kant in order to affirm totality, which means simply the knowing of knowledge as a whole, universal and intricate measure and unity of thought and Being. Adorno follows the conceptual and systematic evolution of Kantian critical reason into Hegel's dialectical metacritique of Kant, Husserl's presentationalism and Heidegger's ontology. Launching against metaphysical reason, defined through dialectical, ontological and scientific cosmological platforms, Kant embroils possible or constitutional judgmental components of truth between logic and time, nominalism and unattainable realism (thing-in-itself) generating a trenchant dialectic within his epistemology and his logical subjectivity. Locked between reason and nature, cognition and experience, post-Kantian idealism reengineer the metalogic behind Kant's critical twofold episteme undermining dualism by reinforcing the transcendental subject as unitary Absolute Concept, Transcendent ego and Being. Under Hegel's phenomenology and determinate negation, Husserl's categorical intuition, and Heidegger's ontological difference, Kant's transcendentalism is transcended for pure experience by increasing the preformative dynamics of idealism ironically falling victim to Kant's critique of metaphysics. Adorno traces from Kant's systematic contradiction a certain "truth" content against the sophisticated phenomenological programs of Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger. Incorporating Kant's negative dialectic (Transcendental Dialectic) of metaphysical paralogism of pure reason and cosmological antinomies found in natural scientific causal extrapolation and Hegel's dialectical metacntique of Kantian epistemology and subsequent block to reason, Adorno forwards his own immanent negative dialectic against both German idealism and scientific positivism by exposing the systematic metalogical deduction of experience, subjectivization of objectivity and concepts of the nonconceptual to their non-identity and untruth. Forwarding an "anti-system," executed through the "logic of disintegration" [Logik der Zerfalls] or "noumenology," Adorno shows the myth behind epistemological foundationalism.
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:adorno theodor w 1903 1969 criticism and intepretation transcendentalism idealism
Date of Publication:01/01/2005