By Susan Buck-Morss
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Additional resources for The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and The Frankfurt Institute
On · thes thin lv n s ·i 1 lit s th r llty, tl y h Marx Minus the Proletariat: Th eory As Praxis 27 a barrier of irrationality which could not be overcome (and which had led Kan t to posit the thing-in-itself), because that barrier could not be removed from theory without being removed from society. Conversely, if theorists could see through the reified appearances, they would recognize that the antinomies of philosophy were due not to the inadequacies of reason, but to those of the reality in which reason tried to find itself.
23 But his intention had a danger of backfiring. The very sophistication of his critique, which made dialectical materialism intellectually respectable,24 provided Adorno with a most effective tool for continuing to do philosophy. R EJ E CT I O N O F T H E P R O L E TA R I AT . Why did Adorno limit his acceptance of dialectical materialism to the level of critical cognition? Given his almost literal following of Lukacs's critique of bourgeois consciousness, why was he so unwilling to affirm the alternative, the revolutionary consciousness of the proletarian class?
What the proletariat would think if they had an accurate awareness of their objective position. "27 The possession of correct theory made the Party the legitimate spokesman, the "vanguard of the revolutionary class. "29 I t provided the mediating link, the organ in which theory and praxis converged . This vision of the Communist Party spearheading the movement through which the proletariat, the "subject-object" of history, would realize its "histori cal mission"30 was far more compelling in the early twenties than at the end o f the decade.
The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and The Frankfurt Institute by Susan Buck-Morss