Nonidentity, Negative Experience and the Pre-Reflective Cogito
Article first published online: 10 JUL 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
European Journal of Philosophy
How to Cite
Howie, G. (2012), Nonidentity, Negative Experience and the Pre-Reflective Cogito. European Journal of Philosophy. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2012.00551.x
- Article first published online: 10 JUL 2012
This paper contributes to the current academic debate on the nature of embodied, intentional consciousness, specifically the attempt to inaugurate a rapprochement between phenomenological existentialism and critical theory. This is accomplished through a critical comparison of the concepts of negative experience and nonidentity in Theodor Adorno's negative dialectics and Jean-Paul Sartre's early phenomenology. By comparing how each engages with Hegel, I suggest that Sartre offers a broad, anthropological account of negative experience and nonidentity helpful to critical theorists but that there remains a critical deficit which Adorno's more restricted—and political—sense of nonidentity remedies. Sartre's anthropological portrayal of ‘persistent negation’ worries Adorno but I suggest that it can be understood as a pragmatic presupposition for problem-solving rather than as a transcendental condition of experience.