Adorno on Nature  book cover
1st Edition

Adorno on Nature

ISBN 9781844652624
Published August 21, 2014 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

Decades before the environmental movement emerged in the 1960s, Adorno condemned our destructive and self-destructive relationship to the natural world, warning of the catastrophe that may result if we continue to treat nature as an object that exists exclusively for our own benefit. "Adorno on Nature" presents the first detailed examination of the pivotal role of the idea of natural history in Adorno's work. A comparison of Adorno's concerns with those of key ecological theorists - social ecologist Murray Bookchin, ecofeminist Carolyn Merchant, and deep ecologist Arne Naess - reveals how Adorno speaks directly to many of today's most pressing environmental issues. Ending with a discussion of the philosophical conundrum of unity in diversity, "Adorno on Nature" also explores how social solidarity can be promoted as a necessary means of confronting environmental problems.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Critical Materialism 2. Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw 3. Thought Thinking Itself 4. Adorno's Endgame 5. Adorno and Radical Ecology Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

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Deborah Cook is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Windsor, Canada. She is author of The Culture Industry Revisited: Theodor W. Adorno on Mass Culture, and Adorno, Habermas, and the Search for a Rational Society, and editor of Theodor Adorno: Key Concepts (2008).


"Adorno is one of the most sophisticated and thorough materialists of the last century, and Cook introduces with much precision (and sympathy for those not already familiar with Adorno’s work) the diversity and strength of Adorno’s approach. Adorno on Nature functions in part, then, as a corrective to recent neglect of Adorno’s commitment to Marxist materialism." – Mind

"A useful and persuasive account of Adorno’s concept of nature and its relationship with the thought of, above all, Marx, but also Hegel, Kant and, to a lesser extent, Freud." – Marx and Philosophy

"A comprehensive and careful analysis of the crucial and often underestimated role of nature in Adorno, tracing Adorno's conception of 'natural history' from the 1930s to the 1960s and articulating its implications for environmental philosophy and activism." – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Due to its admirable clarity, the book will be extremely useful to those unfamiliar with Adorno. At the same time, Cook’s meticulous analysis of Adorno’s texts and her discussion of secondary literature will also be of great interest to scholars well versed in Adorno’s work." – Environmental Values

"Deborah Cook clearly and carefully explores how Adorno’s concern with nature organises his whole philosophy. She shows the relevance of his work for understanding the environmental crisis." – Alison Stone, Lancaster University

"Deborah Cook provides an illuminating study of the concept of nature in Adorno and how it emerges and remains a central component of his work, undergirding the key themes of his philosophy. Clearly and lucidly presenting Adorno’s complex ideas, Cook provides a work that should be of interest to both students and scholars of Adorno’s important work." – Douglas Kellner, UCLA

"The reconstruction of Adorno presented here is compelling and will help restore interest in this sophisticated materialist." – Journal of Critical Realism