Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (3):284-306 (2019)

Timo Jütten
University of Essex
I argue that Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophy articulates a radical conception of hope. According to Lear, radical hope is ‘directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is’. Given Adorno’s claim that the current world is radically evil, and that we cannot know or even imagine what the good is, it is plausible that his conception of hope must be radical in this sense. I develop this argument through an analysis of Adorno’s engagement with Kant’s conception of hope, Adorno’s references to hope and his critical diagnosis of a metaphysical need for hope. Having demonstrated that Adorno must reject both ordinary and Kantian hope, I examine why Adorno thinks that we still may have reasons for hope. I also show that Adorno’s conception of hope differs from Lear’s in one important respect.
Keywords Theodor W. Adorno  Hope  Possibility  Kant  Utopia  Negativism  Jonathan Lear  Holocaust
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Reprint years 2018, 2019
DOI 10.1177/0191453718794749
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Critique of Practical Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1788 - Hackett Publishing Company.
How We Hope: A Moral Psychology.Adrienne Martin - 2014 - Princeton University Press.

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