Volume 6, 2007
How Is Communication Possible?
Adorno's Dialectical Philosophy of Communication
This paper critically surveys Adorno's dialectical-philosophical perspective of communication, which addresses a question and a quest for humanity: "How is communication possible?" In my view, any discussion of Adorno's view on communication should start with his distinction of two concepts: mediation and communication. Mediation involves the ideological critique of illusory relations of objectivity. Communication, defined by Adorno as the never-ending confrontation and reconciliation between subjectivity and objectivity, comes after the epistemological critique of objective mediation. Therefore, the quest for communication always involves a never-ending wrestling between subject and object, particular and universal, experience and information. As Adorno would argue, true communication is "a result not an illusion o f (non-) identity of self and others. If any authentic mediated communication is humanly possible, it is because such communication is inscribed in a dialectical-dialogical process and it can only be accomplished momentarily.