Adorno's Failed Aesthetics of Myth

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1999 (115):7-35 (1999)
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Abstract

InDialectic of Enlightenment Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno argue that reason, which claims to lead to truth, is always instrumental reason—a form of domination based on violence. Enlightenment, which aspired to emancipate society from the violence of myth, ends by reenacting this violence and turning back into myth.2 Jürgen Habermas attacks this argument for falling prey to an unbridled scepticism that fails to appreciate the achievements of modernity.3 For him, Horkheimer's and Adorno's radical critique of reason is analogous to Nietzsche's critique of science and morals in On the Genealogy of Morality to the extent that a claim to truth…

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