Home » For and about students » Techne Community » Techne Students list » TECHNE Students 2017-18 » Jessica Feely
AHRC Techne funded doctoral student
History in the Philosophy of Theodor W. Adorno
Year of enrolment: 2017
Supervisor: Professor Peter Osborne
My research will form a critical analysis of the role played by history in the philosophy of Adorno. I will focus on three questions. First, does Adorno offer a new way of thinking about the structure of history? Second, does the idea of natural history (Naturgeschichte) serve a critical function within Adorno’s philosophy, or does it play only a suggestive role? Thirdly, is Adorno's reconceptualisation of progress convincing? These questions map on to three interrelated concerns within the philosophy of history. That is, how should the structure of history be viewed? How ought we conceive of the relation between history and nature, and can a re-assessment of this relation provide a tool for a critique of social history? Finally, how ought we to think about historical progress, and is it still possible? My intention will be to offer a reading of Adorno that shows that he has viable answers to all three questions, and to develop further his idea of progress. In order to do this, I will focus in particular on Negative Dialectics, Dialectic of Enlightenment, and also the lectures on history found in History and Freedom. By drawing out the tensions in Adorno’s own thought, I hope to engage with the problem of history in philosophy more generally, and reassess Adorno’s contribution to the philosophy of history.