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The Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics presents a lecture on "Adorno’s Theory of the Cognitive Structure of Fascism," at 4:30 p.m. on March. 29.


Stefan Bird-Pollan (Philosophy, U. Kentucky) explores Adorno’s thesis that the roots of fascism are to be found not in a political ideology but in a way of seeing the world. Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) argues that modern instrumental rationality contains within it a mimetic moment which makes all of nature into an exchangeable commodity. Bird-Pollan substantiates this thesis by exploring Kant’s doctrine of schematism which plays a central role in Horkheimer and Adorno’s account. Fascism represents a further step in the rationalization in which the equivalence of capitalism becomes regressive, falling back into tribalism in-group/out-group thinking.

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