Antinomies of Metaphysical Experience between Theodor Adorno and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe

Berkay Ustun 1
  • 1 , Turkey


This article is an inquiry into the concept of metaphysical experience through a joint discussion of two authors and philosophers with different approaches that nevertheless converge in the reclamation of the concept and rely both on the experience of death as an example. In both cases, the authors are guided by the central problem of how not to relinquish metaphysical experience to unscrutinized immediacy or a powerful conversion which enjoins subjection, putting it in contact with aesthetics and ethics at once. Theodor Adorno situates metaphysical experience as a problem of philosophy of history and devotes attention to the contemporary possibility of experiences that evoke transcendence. The transformations he identifies in the concept also lead him to propose art as a domain where metaphysical experience is alive. The implicit personal investment Adorno makes is much more clear in Lacoue-Labarthe who, in a dialogue with Maurice Blanchot, shows the experience as deeply bound up with literature and its links to subjectivity. The article argues that the main difference between the two approaches is modal and temporal from the side of the object, aside from the different modes of interrogation recognized with the labels deconstruction and critical theory.

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