Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Arendt’s and Adorno’s philosophy of difference as a case against normative theories

Manja Kisner


The philosophies of Hannah Arendt and Theodor W. Adorno can be classified as critical theories that were developed out of confrontation with the totalitarian regimes. Today we can still question their actuality for the present time. To answer this, we, firstly, try to understand how their philosophies were developed. We are convinced that one of the essential aspects was Arendt’s and Adorno’s confrontation with older normative theories in the field of moral philosophy and political theory, especially with Kant’s. Secondly, the shortcomings of normativisms for understanding the catastrophes of the totalitarian era lead us to their new ways of thinking, which were pluralistically oriented and interested in difference rather than identity. By the end, in order to discuss their actuality, we confront their philosophies with new theories arising out of the normative turn.

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