Adorno's Lesson Plans? The Ethics of (Re)education in “The Meaning of ‘Working through the Past’” 

Jaimey Fisher

in Language Without Soil

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231263
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235360 | DOI:
Adorno's Lesson Plans? The             Ethics of (Re)education in “The Meaning of ‘Working through the               Past’” 

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This chapter refutes the long-standing prejudice that Theodor W. Adorno offered no concrete suggestions capable of bridging theory and praxis by scrutinizing the philosopher's contributions to Germany's educational reforms following World War II. The last lines of the introduction that Adorno added to “The Meaning of ‘Working through the Past’” when he gave the lecture again in 1962 suggest, like the original questions and answers to the lecture, that his mind was very much on the ethics suggested by his lecture, on the norms and praxis it unfolded, even if skeptically. As Adorno's best-known work about education, “Education after Auschwitz” commences with the conceptual groundwork laid in “Working through the Past”, not so much by merely beginning where the latter essay leaves off, but—as “Working through the Past” did with “Democratization”–by extracting specific elements from it and subsequently elaborating them in revealingly different directions.

Keywords: Theodor W. Adorno; theory; praxis; ethics; education; Germany; educational reforms

Chapter.  9726 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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