In summer 1960, Adorno gave the first of a series of lectures devoted to the relation between sociology and philosophy. One of his central concerns was to dispel the notion, erroneous in his view, that these were two incompatible disciplines, radically opposed in their methods and aims, a notion that was shared by many. While some sociologists were inclined to dismiss philosophy as obsolete and incapable of dealing with the pressing social problems of our time, many philosophers, influenced by Kant, believed that philosophical reflection must remain ‘pure’, investigating the constitution of knowledge and experience without reference to any real or material factors. By focusing on the problem of truth, Adorno seeks to show that philosophy and sociology share much more in common than many of their practitioners are inclined to assume. Drawing on intellectual history, Adorno demonstrates the connection between truth and social context, arguing that there is no truth that cannot be manipulated by ideology and no theorem that can be wholly detached from social and historical considerations.
This systematic account on the interconnectedness of philosophy and sociology makes these lectures a timeless reflection on the nature of these disciplines and an excellent introduction to critical theory, the sociological content of which is here outlined in detail by Adorno for the first time.