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  1. “Negative Dialectics” is the work of Theodor Adorno, in which he sets out his ideas, as well as the concept of Adorno outlined in this work.

    In short, Adorno takes as a basis the idea of dialectics in the Hegelian sense as the doctrine of universal development, realized through the conflict interaction of opposites, and as a special way of philosophical thinking and perception of the world, including these opposites.

    What Adorno doesn't like about Hegel is his idea of “removing” opposites. According to Hegel, development takes place in the form of a triad: thesis-antithesis-synthesis. For example, philosophy appeared in antiquity (thesis), medieval philosophy began with a critique of antiquity in early Christianity (antithesis), but ended with their synthesis in Renaissance philosophy.

    Adorno sees the postulation of the obligatory “synthesis” as a kind of violence to reality. Reality, from Adorno's point of view, is contradictory in itself, and the contradictory nature of thinking about being only reflects the contradictory nature of reality itself. Adorno gives several examples in his work, in particular::

    “The contradiction of the type of contradiction between the definition that the individual knows as the definition of the self, as his own, and the definition that society imposes on him – the definition of 'role' – cannot be brought to unity without manipulation, intermediate commutation of meager superficial concepts that can overcome essential differences; the same is true of the contradiction of the principle of exchange, which promotes the growth of productive forces in the existing society, but at the same time increasingly threatens this society, carries in itself its destruction.”

    So, contradictions are a property of objective reality, and the logical law of non-contradiction, which prohibits asserting something and simultaneously asserting the opposite, has to do not so much with reality itself as with the properties of our thinking. In other words, we need it so that reality is consistent, but in fact, it is full of unsolvable conflicts and contradictions, and all possible ways to resolve them are nothing more than a temporary measure that we use in order to make reality bearable for ourselves (in other words, so as not to “blow up our brains”).

    From Adorno's point of view, when Hegel postulated the idea of “synthesis” in his dialectical philosophy, he simply went along with this property of our thinking. He lacked, so to speak, the intellectual courage to be consistently dialectical. “Negative dialectic” is, from Adorno's point of view, a consistent dialectic that recognizes contradiction as an unavoidable attribute of being and does not “dilute” it with any “syntheses”:

    “Dialectical knowledge should not construct contradictions from above (such actions are attributed to it by its opponents), it should not overcome them and move further, although at times Hegelian logic acts in this way. Instead, dialectics has an organic tendency to follow the inadequacy of thought and thing, to recognize this inadequacy in the subject.”

    The task of philosophy, then, according to Adorno, is to discover these objective contradictions in everything, an objective discovery that grows out of reality itself. As Adorno notes, even in Hegel, in his very concept of synthesis, there are sprouts of this idea, although not brought to its logical conclusion:

    “The Hegelian synthesis is an understanding of the insufficiency, inferiority of this movement, its 'costs'. The synthesis comes very close to the consciousness of the negative essence of the dialectical logic developed by it, but it is too early, as it is described in the introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit. The requirement of phenomenology – to contemplate the concept in its purity until it, driven by its own meaning, its identity, does not turn into a non-identical one-is a normative requirement of analysis, not synthesis.”

    Thus, the negative dialectic behind each thesis reveals an antithesis, a negation, thereby demonstrating the inconsistency of being and overcoming our natural desire to simplify everything and reduce it to a cozy, conflict-free picture of the world. That is why this dialectic is called negative.

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