Adorno, Hegel and the concrete universal

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (1):73-94 (2011)
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The core argument of this article is that Adorno adopts the distinction between an abstract and a concrete universal from Hegel and criticizes Hegel, on that basis, as abstract. The first two parts of the article outline that both thinkers take the abstract universal to be the form of a false type of knowledge and society, and the concrete universal to be a positive aim. However, as the third part argues, Adorno rejects how the concrete universal is understood in Hegel’s philosophy and formulates a different conception of it. The fourth part questions if Adorno manages to overcome the problems he identifies in Hegel or whether they are inherent to the programme of dialectics both endorse.

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Charlotte Baumann
University of Sussex


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