Adorno’s Early Phenomenology

Convener: Christian Ferencz-Flatz (University of Bucharest).

Adorno’s criticism of phenomenology is well known. His relationship to the phenomenological method proves however far more complex, as can be inferred already from his long lasting engagement with the works of Husserl. In the early 1920s, Adorno finished his PhD with a dissertation on Husserl’s concept of “noema”, while several of his earlier papers deal extensively with technical issues of contemporary phenomenology. Later on, in the mid-1930s Adorno began a second dissertation on Husserl’s theory of categorial intuition with Gilbert Ryle at Oxford, while several of his essays in this period delve into a detailed criticism of Husserl’s philosophy. Finally, in the late 1930s, Adorno came to develop, during his work in the media project of the sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld in New York a methodological conception of philosophical “physiognomy” which he repeatedly and explicitly associates with the phenomenological method. This seminar wishes to explore some of the ambiguities in Adorno’s rejection and appropriation of phenomenology by discussing two of Adorno’s papers from the late 1930s: in the first semester, ”Husserl and the Problem of Idealism” (1939), which will be analyzed in parallel with the referenced passages in Husserl, and in the second semester, ”Radio Physiognomics” (1940). Working languages will be Romanian and English.

The seminar meets weekly, on Mondays, from 18.00 at 1 Dimitrie Brândză St., in the office of the Romanian Society for Phenomenology.

First meeting: Monday, 30 October, 18.00.

Contact: Christian Ferencz-Flatz – christian.ferencz(at)