By John Perry
It is a list of conversations of Gretchen Weirob, a instructor of philosophy at a small Midwestern
college, and of her pals. The conversations happened in her clinic room at the 3 nights
before she died from accidents sustained in a bike twist of fate. Sam Miller is a chaplain and a long-
time good friend of Weirob’s; Dave Cohen is a former scholar of hers.
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Additional resources for A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality
Again, I believe, his above-cited characterization of Kafka as a land surveyor who ‘photograph[s] the earth’s surface just as it must have appeared to victims, hung head down, during the endless hours of their dying’, is illustrative in this context: Adorno’s philosophy, I will argue, and this is true of Schopenhauer’s as well, is not written from a neutral perspective – if there is such a perspective at all – but from the radical perspective that comes with an emphasis on extreme bodily suffering and, like a corporeal response to pain, a ‘concrete denunciation of the inhuman’.
It is for this reason that Adorno keeps returning to what happened in Auschwitz when discussing practical philosophy and why he keeps referring, in the most normative passages of his writings, to the suffering of bodies. This brings us to another similarity between Schopenhauer and Adorno’s theories: their observations on the nature of aesthetic and metaphysical experiences. In the same passage on Kafka, Adorno describes how ‘it is for nothing less than such unmitigated torture that 16 Schopenhauer and Adorno on Bodily Suffering the perspective of redemption presents itself to him’.
Nevertheless, it remains true that I mainly compare the two and therefore focus only on their works. As a last preliminary point, it is important to mention that I do not seek to answer the questions described above in light of Kafka’s story in a definitive manner. Not only are these questions far too complex to be answered within the scope of this book – if they can be answered at all – but I also believe, mainly following Adorno, that raising and discussing these questions is valuable in itself since it already forces us to reflect on ourselves and the conditions we find ourselves in.