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Christian Ferencz-Flatz – Zur Funktion des Vortheoretischen bei Adorno Der Erfahrungsbegriff der Kritischen Theorie und die Phänomenologie (Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 2019)

Pre-theoretical experience and the lifeworld are traditionally seen as a key reference for phenomenology. In the present paper I intend to point out their relevance for critical theory as well. To this extent, I start off with a brief overview of phenomenological approaches to pre-theoretical experience and their relationship to empirical research. In sketching out some of the overlaps between phenomenology and early critical theory in this regard, I then specifically focus on Adorno’s reflections concerning the role of an extended concept of experience in both his sociological and his philosophical work. Outlining Adorno’s methodological appropriation of “unregimented experience” in the guise of what he terms “physiognomic interpretation” – a procedure intended as a corrective to both rigorous empirical research and philosophical aprioric reasoning – I try to show wherein Adorno’s own approach to the pre-theoretical diverges from phenomenology. Finally, I conclude with some reflections concerning the different functions experience acquires in traditional phenomenology and critical theory.