Metaphysics after Auschwitz: Suffering and Hope in Adorno’s Negative Dialectics.

Zuidervaart, Lambert. “Metaphysics After Auschwitz: Suffering and Hope in Adorno’s Negative Dialectics.” In Adorno and the Need in Thinking: New Critical Essays, pp. 133-62. Ed. Donald Burke et al. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

Adorno’s Negative Dialectics challenges the assumption that contemporary philosophy needs to be “postmetaphysical.” Philosophy must incorporate “metaphysical experience,” he argues. Otherwise it cannot engage in thorough social critique, remain unswervingly self-critical, and hold open historical possibilities for a different society. Revising Adorno’s famous claim about poetry after Auschwitz, I suggest that to write suffering and hope out of philosophy is barbaric. Contemporary philosophy cannot afford self-imposed silence in an age of global destruction. Much of this essay appears, lightly revised, in Chapters 1 and 2 of  Social Philosophy after Adorno (Cambridge UP, 2007).