The Utopia of Eidetic Intuition: A Phenomenological Motif in Adorno


In this article I attempt to discuss several phenomenological imports in Adorno’s work, which center around his various interpretations of Husserl’s eidetic intuition. In the first part, I underline the presence of a phenomenological component in Adorno’s interpretative method and show that the interest in concrete, singular phenomena motivated Adorno to retain the idea of a non-reducible, immediate given, emphasizing its function as a moment of resistance in the face of classificatory thought, be it scientific or philosophical. In the second part, I focus on how eidetic intuition is discussed by Adorno in relation to the methodological difficulty that consists in moving from the level of first order givenness to theoretical, conceptual insight, and I argue that eidetic intuition plays a methodological role here insofar as it carries a utopic promise. In the last section, I tackle the question of language and the possibilities it opens for approaching this utopic promise, and I attempt to show that, in spite of its failings, eidetic intuition is further employed in relation to what Adorno calls the configurative use of language.

Keywords: eidetic intuition, phenomenology, utopia, language, constellation

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