Problems of Moral Philosophy by Theodor W. Adorno

By Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969), one of many best social thinkers of the 20th century, lengthy involved himself with the issues of ethical philosophy, or “whether the nice lifestyles is a real hazard within the present.”

This e-book includes a process seventeen lectures given in May-July 1963. Captured by way of tape recorder (which Adorno referred to as “the fingerprint of the dwelling mind”), those lectures current a a bit various, and extra obtainable, Adorno from the person who composed the faultlessly articulated and virtually forbiddingly ideal prose of the works released in his lifetime. right here we will be able to keep on with Adorno’s notion within the strategy of formation (he spoke from short notes), endowed with the spontaneity and effort of the spoken word.

The lectures concentration mostly on Kant, “a philosopher in whose paintings the query of morality is so much sharply contrasted with different spheres of existence.” After discussing the various Kantian different types of ethical philosophy, Adorno considers different, doubtless extra quick normal difficulties, reminiscent of the character of ethical norms, the great lifestyles, and the relation of relativism and nihilism.

In the process the lectures, Adorno addresses quite a lot of issues, together with: idea and perform, ethics as undesirable sense of right and wrong, the repressive personality, the matter of freedom, dialectics in Kant and Hegel, the character of cause, the ethical legislations as a given, psychoanalysis, the part of the Absurd, freedom and legislations, the Protestant culture of morality, Hamlet, self-determination, phenomenology, the concept that of the need, the assumption of humanity, The Wild Duck, and Nietzsche’s critique of morality.

“What makes Problems of ethical Philosophy doubly outstanding is the simplicity of the unique German and the readability of the interpretation. This quantity . . . is very worthwhile for these looking a transparent advent to Adorno’s bold complicated thought.” —Choice

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Here I should just like to draw your attention to one point before we look at Kant’s treatment of the antinomy, so that you can gain something of an idea of the problems involved. For what I have promised you is to introduce you to the problems of moral philosophy, and this means that I shall not just tell you about this fundamental line of thought in Kant, and explain it as well as I can, but I should like to show you that behind these l e c t ur e f o ur 35 arguments, which may or may not strike you as persuasive, there are a number of conflicting motifs that are hard to grasp and are often incompatible with each other.

4 But at all events, in such a situation and especially when one’s own thoughts are so critical of the concept of system, it would be inappropriate to clothe one’s ideas in a form that in reality does no more than mimic a non-existent system. Instead I at any rate think it the task of philosophical discourse to attempt as far as possible to express as discourse – in other words, through the form in which it is presented – something of the content it wishes to convey. It is an essential feature of philosophy that form and content cannot be separated from each other, as is supposed to be the case in the various branches of learning, although it is my view that an expert on German literature, for example, who used phrases such as ‘roughly speaking’ in his texts would thereby disqualify himself as utterly as any philosopher who indulges in linguistic waffle and thinks it acceptable to talk in phrases and generalities.

Moreover, this remarkable method does not confine itself, as we might first suppose, to the so-called material of our knowledge, but extends to the very forms of our consciousness which, despite their derivative nature in Kant, have in a sense simply to be accepted, and to be respected. This has the consequence that he can speak of necessity – and necessity is one of the categories in his system – as if it is something given. I cannot provide the evidence for this here; to do so would take us too far away from our present concerns.

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