Does Habermas' 'performative contradiction' have more bite after Adorno gave up Marxism?

I took Habermas to be wrong because:

> The claim that seeking truth is socially necessary may be granted, but
> using it as a quasi-transcendental justification for re-establishing
> reason independent of its historical expression is illegitimate.
> Habermas is here conflating what Adorno took pains to distinguish,
> namely, the historical notion of "society," which the latter conceived
> as an "untrue" whole, and the individual [who thinks and criticizes
> without needing truth]... the subject becomes aware of that which is
> "true" in himself and aware of that which is "false"... [because] we
> [and the legitimacy 'performative contradiction'] cannot be fully free
> of the contradictions reason and domination produce in the whole.

Apologies if I'm just wrong.

This got me wondering how Adorno can claim that some people are more or less complicit in e.g. the barbarism of the whole. If my notes above are right, then to do so it seems to me he needs to say that thinking is more bound up with the social whole than action.

But, if Marxism is impossible, then surely action can be no more free than thought is in capitalism. So either the pursuit of truth is necessary for individuals, and Adorno's criticism fails, or every individual is as complicit in the action of the ruling class.

  • Habermas did have to use socially constructed truth because he well understood the implications of Wittgenstein and Ayer: Meaning and truth cannot be individually determined. Adorno basically misinterpreted the conflict between a small social group and society as one between society and an individual. These are remnants of idealistic ideas about genius in Adorno. What strikes me most here is the absence of any definite question to be answered (bare in mind that 'Am I right?' type questions are a bad fit here). – Philip Klöcking Jun 14 '18 at 8:47

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