Kunst- und kulturwissenschaftliches Kolloquium: Dialektik-Antidialektik

Antonia Birnbaum
Art Sciences and Art Education, Philosophy
2023W, Colloquium (KOL), 4.0 ECTS, 1.0 semester hours, course number S04807


This colloquium will pose the question of the dialectical processuality of thought and the repercussion in it of anti-dialectics.

The dialectics of Plato and Hegel will be examined, some anti-dialectical approaches, and presentations may address this connection.

Overall, the colloquium is closely related to the conference on this topic that will be held in March 2023.

Why can it be relevant today to re-examine the difficulties of dialectics, what does it have to tell us? The first hypothesis is the following: that dialectics always evokes and is met by anti-dialectics is precisely what makes it relevant for us. Briefly reminded, dialectic can be understood as a process of thinking that generates itself from its own movement, which discovers and brings forth the inseparability of the real and thought. Thus, its claim is to include the real in thought, and thought in the processuality of thought: either, in ancient dialectics, to recover the participation of intelligibility in being, or, in modernity, to perform the immanence of contradictory negativity on being; so Plato and Hegel. But this all-encompassing claim always encounters something contradictory that cannot be reminisced or subsumed, and that reverberates on the dialectic. 

Thus, dialectic is always haunted by anti-dialectic. The externality, the distance and the proximity of dialectic and anti-dialectic neither belongs to the one nor to the other. It is precisely this rupture that must be kept in view here, in order to explore once again the span between mediation and singular contingency to which the conceptual clings.


In the poststructuralism of the 1970s and after, anti-dialectics prevails and refers to the dimension of the event, while it repeatedly engages with dialectics. The distance from dialectics is named "relation of non-relation" and refers, for example, to the non-relation of ontology and event (Badiou), of equality and inequality (Rancière), the unworkable of the event (Deleuze), the non-relation of sexuality (Lacan). Further, dialectics and anti-dialectics split the relation to Marx, who is conceived on the one hand in terms of an immanent structural causality of material reality (Althusser) or an irreducible immanent possibility of total transformation rather than a necessary process (Negri), and on the other hand as the inventor of a symptomic truth that splits the contradictions of capital (Lacan, Badiou): Anti-dialectics or dialectics, Spinoza or Hegel? -

that is the question here. In modern dialectics itself, the anti-dialectical interferes with dialectical processes, e.g. as the logic of interruption that contradicts subsumption, as Hölderlin understands it as tragic transport and Benjamin continues to think it in dialectical standstill; the dissolution of the state instead of its mediation, which Marx discovers in the Commune of 1871; or even the fusion of negation of society and autonomous self-assertion, as Adorno understands it as the condition of the work of art.


Dialectics is brought into crisis by anti-dialectics, and vice versa.But in our present, these crises no longer mean a final or unique rupture; rather, they act as conditions of the possibility of thought, albeit in different ways.For dialectics, the acceptance of its crisis can mean a dissociation of its own aims, hence a turning away and reinterpretation of its negativity from its teleological and subsuming tendencies, which by now are nothing more than the homogenizing and destructive procedures of capital itself.And conversely, the difference of singularity in the anti-dialectical can, paradoxically, precisely thanks to a dialectical negativity, free itself from the pull that ties it back to an identitarian politics.

Without these confrontations, the crisis of thinking loses all political meaning. In this course of tensions between dialectics and antidialectics, it is important to think from the difference of positions and to productively turn the relationship of this non-relationship around.




11 October 2023, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20 (preliminary discussion)
25 October 2023, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20
08 November 2023, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20
15 November 2023, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20
22 November 2023, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20
29 November 2023, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20
17 January 2024, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 20
24 January 2024, 14:30–17:30 Seminar Room 23 , "Raumänderung"

Course Enrolment

From 24 July 2023, 09:48 to 15 November 2023, 23:55
Via online registration

Studies in Art and Culture (Master): Art and Cultural Studies Colloquium: Art and Cultural Studies Colloquium 1-4 568/002.01

Co-registration: not possible

Attending individual courses: not possible