Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 361–380 | Cite as

Eidetic intuition as physiognomics: rethinking Adorno’s phenomenological heritage

  • Christian Ferencz-FlatzEmail author


Adorno’s intensive criticism of phenomenology is well known, his entire early period during the 1920s and 1930s being marked by various polemical engagements with Husserl. This engagement finds its peak during his work at his second dissertation project in Oxford, a dissertation that was supposed to systematicaly expose the antinomies of phenomenological thinking while particularly focusing on Husserl’s concept of “eidetic intuition” or “intuition of essences” (Wesensschau). The present paper will take this criticism as its starting point in focusing on two highly specific aspects of Adorno’s interpretation: the opposition between eidetic intuition and the traditional theories of abstraction and its relationship to genetic phenomenology. In light of this criticism I subsequently show: 1. that, in his later work, Adorno’s understanding of eidetic intuition undergoes a significant revaluation; 2. that he reappropriates key elements of the eidetic method in his own procedure of physiognomic analysis, and 3. that his account of physiognomics is relevant for addressing the aforementioned incongruities of phenomenological eidetics itself.


Adorno Husserl Eidetic intuition Physiognomics Genetic phenomenology 



This work was funded by CNCS-UEFISCDI (PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0307).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alexandru Dragomir Institute for PhilosophyBucharestRomania

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