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Adorno's critique of moral philosophy

Grant number: 17/21507-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): February 26, 2018
Effective date (End): August 25, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Vladimir Pinheiro Safatle
Grantee:Felipe Catalani
Supervisor abroad: Rahel Simone Anna Jaeggi
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Humboldt University, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:16/06614-9 - The relation between knowledge and morals in the late work of Theodor W. Adorno, BP.MS


On this project, we intend to investigate theoretical problems related to Adorno's moral philosophy (in the sense of a critique of moral philosophy). The point of depart of our research was to scrutinize the relation between knowledge and morals in Adorno's late work, specially in his Negative Dialectics. We understand that it is essential for the idea of critical theory that the epistemological and the ethical moments are not separated, but intrinsically united. In this sense, our effort was to understand how both moments are related in Adorno's late work, that is, how Negative Dialectics actualizes this central motive that was explicitly elaborated in Horkheimer's fundamental text Traditionelle und kritische Theorie. For that reason, it seems important to understand how Adorno's emphatic concept of truth has a strong moral sense, in opposition to the positivistic concept of truth as a neutral statement, as adaequatio between the object and a proposition. The concept of truth as belonging to the realm of "practical philosophy" has a long history, which recalls the entire dialectic tradition until Hegel. In the context of critical theory, this concept of truth becomes clear specially in the works of Lukacs, Bloch, Marcuse and Horkheimer. In the Negative Dialectics, through the relation between truth and suffering, truth regains a particular ethical form, uniting sein and sollen, in the sense that, for Adorno, it is an imperative that suffering should not be.