Theodor Adorno

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Theodor Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno (11 September 1903 – 6 August 1969), born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund, was a Jewish German sociologist, philosopher and composer, involved in the creation of the critical theory ideology of the New Left and Cultural Marxism as a member of the Frankfurt School.


Born in Germany, he along with other Jewish-Germans such as Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse, emigrated to the United States after NSDAP had seized power in Germany. Perhaps the best known books of Adorno are The Authoritarian Personality, Dialectic of Enlightenment and Negative Dialectics.

Adorno made many contributions to critical theory, notably his view that reason had become entangled with domination and suffering. Adorno coined the tern ‘identity thinking’ to describe the process of categorical thought in modern society, by which everything becomes an example of an abstract, and thus nothing individual in its actual specific uniqueness is allowed to exist.[1]

An influential 1950 book with Adorno as co-author was the The Authoritarian Personality. Influenced by pseudoscientific psychoanalysis and the politically correct view on the Holocaust, the book included a description of an alleged personality trait measured by an "F-scale"' (F for fascist) and an associated problematic personality type, supposedly the result of childhood experiences. Even Wikipedia admits that the book has been "strongly criticized for bias and methodology".

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