Adorno, Heidegger, and the Politics of Truth

Adorno, Heidegger, and the Politics of Truth

Lambert Zuidervaart. New York: SUNY Press, 2024.

Available at: SUNY Press

Publisher's Overview:

An elusive and complex idea of truth lies at the center of Theodor Adorno's thought. Yet he never spells out what it is. Through close readings of Negative Dialectics, Aesthetic Theory, and related course lectures, Lambert Zuidervaart reconstructs Adorno's conception of truth, contrasts it with the conceptions of Martin Heidegger and Michel Foucault, and explores its relevance for contemporary philosophy, art, and politics. Adorno regards truth as a dynamic constellation in which various dialectical polarities intersect. The most decisive polarity, Zuidervaart argues, occurs between society as it has developed and the historical possibility of a completely transformed world. Critically reconstructed, Adorno's conception of truth can help inspire hopeful critiques of an allegedly post-truth society.

Review of the Book:

Zuidervaart, who already published numerable books on critical theory in general and Adorno in particular, again shows himself to be an excellent and critical reader of Adorno. The greatest strength of Adorno, Heidegger, and the Politics of Truth is that it offers an in-depth study of Adorno's concept of truth, based on a thorough reading and understanding, and an original and critical interpretation of Adorno's work. It also surpasses that in demonstrating the need for a conception of 'truth as a whole' beyond propositional truth, and the need to link the concept of truth to social critique and social hope. All this makes this book a must-read for Adorno scholars.

— Thijs Lijster, author of Benjamin and Adorno on Art and Art Criticism: Critique of Art

Table of Contents:

1. Adorno’s Conception of Truth

2. The Humanly Promised Other of History

3. Surplus beyond the Subject

4. What Is, Is More Than It Is

5. Politics of Truth: Adorno, Foucault, and Feminist Critical Theory

6. “Weh spricht vergeh”: Truth in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory

7. Promises of Truth

Appendix: Reflections from Damaged Life: Theodor W. Adorno (1903–69)