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Negative Dialectic, Identity and Exchange

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses Adorno's use of identity and exchange in relation to negative dialectics. Negation, in Adorno's view, is never permitted a moment's rest on the outcome of a process, a positive moment that is housed in sublation, for the outcome must immediately be seen as non-identical or it has merely drawn the subject into the trance of identity-thinking. Perhaps Marx's most frequently cited instance of "identity" in this sense is that of production and consumption. Marx's method is concerned primarily with establishing relations, but it is also about constructing concepts that mediate reality, such as the concept of "population". False consciousness is not a permanent state of the individual or the class as a whole but a discoverable condition that can be altered. Adorno does imply that identity thinking and the inequality of existing relations should be overcome.

Keywords: identity; Marx; negation; negative dialectics; sublation



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