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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 12, Issue 1/2, 2009

Art, Praxis, and Social Transformation

Joshua Delpech-Ramey
Pages 315-337

Lost Magic
The Hidden Radiance of Negative Dialectics

Through a close reading of Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, in relation to Minima Moralia and to Dialectic of Enlightenment, this paper aims to interpret the tension between, on the one hand, Adorno’s scathing critique of occultism, and on the other, his subtle and elusive suggestions that authentic thought has certain elective affinities with modes of mind, such as are traditionally found in magical theory and practice. This surprising affinity has implications not only for how to read Adorno’s critical project, but also for how to assess the relevance of spirituality for revolutionary and emancipatory politics. If immanent critique labors for a re-enchanted world, it may yet be linked to a genuinely spiritual vision of reality.

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