Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Beardsworth, Sara


The problem that my dissertation addresses is the connection between modern reason and the ethical failures of modernity. My project is centered against the background of Enlightenment reason's project of rationalization, from which I argue that modern conceptions of ethics are problematic because they involve an abstraction from the reality of suffering individuals. I take up Adorno's response to this problematic and show that ethical reflection needs to be restored to the physical world of particulars in their damaged state. Philosophically, I press the need to reflect on ethical conditions and the values of our moral theories. My overall objective is to show how an Adornoesque ethics can position us in a critical and resistant mode of thinking within actual sites of suffering and damage in late modern conditions.




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