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Jargon of Authenticity Paperback – January 1, 1973

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Adorno is a political thinker who wished to bring about radical change.' - Iris Murdoch

'A volume of Adorno's essays is equivalent to a whole shelf of books on literature.' - Susan Sontag

'Adorno expounds what may be called a new philosophy of consciousness. His philosophy lives, dangerously but also fruitfully, in proximity to an ascetic puritanical moral rage, an attachment to some items in the structure and vocabulary of Marxism, and a feeling that human suffering is the only important thing and makes nonsense of everything else... Adorno is a political thinker who wishes to bring about radical change. He is also a philosopher, with a zest for metaphysics, who is at home in the western philosophical tradition.' - Irish Murdoch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Best Books of the Month
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (January 1, 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810106574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810106574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,381,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) was the leading figure of the Frankfurt school of critical theory. He authored more than twenty volumes, including "Negative Dialectics" (1982), "Kierkegaard" (Minnesota, 1989), "Dialectic of Enlightenment" (1975) with Max Horkheimer, and "Aesthetic Theory" (Minnesota, 1997).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Duane M. Johnson on August 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is Theodor Adorno's critique of the 'de-conceptualizing conceptualism' that was characteristic of Heideggerian philosophy in particular and of disciplines influenced by existentialism in general. While much of this book's critical content goes back to the pre-World War Two era, what the author has to say about the origins and operation of irrationalizing 'subjectivism' and the ideological habits which support it, is in our own time even more applicable than ever before.

At the book's core is the contention that, in tandem with the general philosophical retreat away from rationalism triggered by late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century criticisms (Bergson, Nietzsche, Dilthey, Husserl, etc.) of idealist metaphysics and its contingent aspirations to truth, there was a subjectivizing impulse that, in Adorno's view, was content to elevate proximally emotional states of mind and pre-rational impressions to the status of philosophical, or, more exactly, ontological absolutes. Thus, instead of now arising from what some judged to be rationalism's stillborn questing for truth (as it no longer had any objective foundations), these new categories formed a compensatory subjectivizing 'jargon' ('compensatory` in the sense that the still reigning bourgeois rationalism needed supplemental amounts of irrationalism in order to keep functioning).

Adorno describes how words like "existential", "in the decision", "commission", "appeal", "encounter", "genuine dialogue", "statement", "concern", and the signature "authentic" all coalesced to denote what, in his opinion, constituted the subjectively immediate but irrationally 'authentic' as opposed to what was now regarded as the rationally suspect.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
This small text is something of a companion piece to the rather large critique of Heidegger in Negative Dialectics. Here, Adorno lambasts Heidegger primarily for his incessant archaism--i.e., the attempt to hear the whispers of being by pouring over the etymologies of his languages. Additionally, there are further criticisms regarding Heidegger's attempt to transform the concreteness of empirical alienation and domination by capitalism into transcendental concepts. In particular, the jargon of "thrownness" is regarded as a static, empty abstraction, wholly divorced from the socio-historical conditions that reify the subjectivity. While don't necessarily go as far with Adorno in identifying Heidegger's language with the language of advertising (for its deceitfulness), I do agree that the jargon developed into an authoritarian armor of sorts, and this is evident in the way contemporary Heidegger scholars endlessly debate the letter of Heidegger as though Being and Time were a holy document. Fundamental ontology never was entirely concerned with politics, and I think this becomes more evident in the late Heidegger. Nevertheless, and despite this critique, I think Adorno and Heidegger were animated by many shared problems, not the least of which, was the question of the crisis of modernity.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Allison N. Schumacher on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I assumed this book would have more of a universal message on authenticity, but it is well focused on theology, sociology and psychology. If you are already familiar with Kierkegaard and Heidegger, this is a good book for you.
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