Given his view that the modern world is ‘radically evil’, Adorno is an unlikely contributor to business ethics. Despite this, we argue that his work has a number of provocative implications for the field that warrant wider attention. Adorno regards our social world as damaged, unfree, and false and we draw on this critique to outline why the achievement of good work is so rare in contemporary society, focusing in particular on the ethical demands of roles and the ideological nature (...) of management’s self-understanding. Nevertheless, we show that Adorno’s comments on activities such as art and philosophy mean that it is possible to draw on his work in a way that contributes constructively to the conversation about good and meaningful work within business ethics. (shrink)
This paper attempts to show how Adorno’s thought can illuminate our reflections on the future of work. It does so by situating Adorno’s conception of genuine activity in relation to his negativist critical epistemology and his subtle account of the distinction between true and false needs. What emerges is an understanding of work that can guide our aspirations for the future of work, and one we illustrate via discussions of creative work and care work. These are types of work which (...) cater to persistent human needs, albeit ones that are distorted under present social conditions. Adorno’s thought helps us to understand why this is the case. (shrink)
This paper aims to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Adorno’s thought for business ethicists working in the critical tradition by showing how his critique of modern social life anticipated, and ofers continuing illumination of, recent technological transformations of capitalism. It develops and extrapolates Adorno’s thought regarding three central spheres of modern society, which have seen radical changes in light of recent technological developments: work, in which employee monitoring has become ever more sophisticated and intrusive; leisure consumption, in which the algorithmic (...) developments of the culture industry have paved the way for entertainment products to dominate us; and political discourse, in which social media has exacerbated the anti-democratic tendencies Adorno warned of in the mid-twentieth century. We conclude by presenting, as a rejoinder to these developments, the contours of an Adornian ethics of resistance to the reifcation and dehumanisation of such developments. (shrink)
In this article I present an original interpretation of Roy Bhaskar’s project in Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom. His major move is to separate an ontological dialectic from a critical dialectic, which in Hegel are laminated together. The ontological dialectic, which in Hegel is the self-unfolding of spirit, becomes a realist and relational philosophical anthropology. The critical dialectic, which in Hegel is confined to retracing the steps of spirit, now becomes an active force, dialectical critique, which interposes into the ontological (...) dialectic at the ‘fourth dimension’ of a naturalistically reconfigured account of relational human nature, agency. This account allows Bhaskar to explain and vindicate the crucial role social criticism must play in any realistic project of self-emancipation, and to create a space that didn’t exist in Hegel for an open-ended concrete utopianism. Freedom is thus the actualization of human nature, but is not automatic: the relation of human nature to freedom is mediated historically through dialectical critique, which, informed by concrete utopianism, can have emancipatory power. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 13-44 Authors Craig Reeves, Brunel University Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 1 / 2013. (shrink)
In Eichmann in Jerusalem , Hannah Arendt struggled to defend the possibility of judgment against the obvious problems encountered in attempts to offer legally valid and morally meaningful judgments of those who had committed crimes in morally bankrupt communities. Following Norrie, this article argues that Arendt’s conclusions in Eichmann are equivocal and incoherent. Exploring her perspectival theory of judgment, the article suggests that Arendt remains trapped within certain Kantian assumptions in her philosophy of history, and as such sees the question (...) of freedom in a binary way. The article argues that Adorno’s philosophy of freedom provides the resources to diagnose and overcome Arendt’s shortcomings. Adorno’s position provides a way of embracing the antinomical character of judgment, by emphasising the need for elements of reason and nature in the phenomenon of freedom. In Adorno’s lights, judgment becomes an attempt to express a ‘spirit of solidarity’ with the tragic status of the potentially free but actually unfree subject of modernity. (shrink)
Jaakko Nevasto has offered a number of thoughtful criticisms of our attempt to show that Adorno’s work can fruitfully be brought to bear on topics in business ethics. After welcoming his constructive clarifications, we attempt to defuse Nevasto’s main objections and defend our application of Adorno, focusing in particular on the topics of moral epistemology, needs, and the possibility of genuine activity – and thus good work – within capitalist society.
This article considers and criticizes criminal law‘s assumption of the moral autonomy of individuals, showing how that view rests on questionable and obscure Kantian commitments about the self, and proposes a naturalistic alternative developed through a synthetic reading of Adorno‘s and Bhaskar‘s account of the subject in relation to nature and society. As an embodied, emergent, changing subject whose practically rational powers are emergent, polymorphous, and contingent, the subject‘s moral autonomy is dependent on the conditions for experiences of solidarity in (...) four-planar nature. This view makes criminal theory‘s Autonomy Assumption look deeply questionable; autonomy must be a complex, nuanced open question, not an abstract, a priori default assumption. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Theodor W. Adorno 's philosophy of freedom needs an ontological picture of the world. Adorno does not make his view of natural order explicit, but I suggest it could be neither the chaotic nor the strictly determined ontological images common to idealism and positivism, and that it would have to make intelligible the possibility both of human freedom and of critical social science. I consider two possible candidates, Nancy Cartwright 's ‘patchwork of laws’, and (...) Roy Bhaskar 's critical realism. Arguing that Cartwright 's position conflicts with the spirit of Adorno 's philosophy, I suggest that Bhaskar 's realism is compatible with and to a significant extent implicit in Adorno 's position. Whilst Adorno is clearly not a critical realist, Bhaskar 's position does provide the best overall account of the ontological commitments of Adorno 's critical theory. It becomes possible in turn to locate Bhaskar 's arguments in a broader critical tradition and give fuller expression to the concerns that structure his work, in particular by locating the epistemic fallacy in the narrative account of the natural history of subjective reason and its tendency towards ‘identity thinking ’. The discussion goes on to consider the interdependence of reason, nature and freedom in the idea of emancipatory critique, confirming the deeper affinities between critical realism and critical theory. (shrink)