Vol. 15 No. 1 (2022): Public Art and Aesthetics

Escaping the Metaphysics of Fate/Fact. Comparing Spengler and Adorno

Attilio Vincenzo Bruzzone
Università degli Studi di Genova

Published 2022-08-02


  • Nature,
  • History,
  • Necessity,
  • Fate,
  • Domination,
  • Decline,
  • Utopia
  • ...More

How to Cite

Bruzzone, A. V. (2022). Escaping the Metaphysics of Fate/Fact. Comparing Spengler and Adorno. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 15(1), 117–132. https://doi.org/10.36253/Aisthesis-13621


The Decline of the West belongs to that group of controversial books that have been more attacked than actually and properly read. Today, in deference to the myth of de-ideologisation, that polemical charge has diminished considerably. Nevertheless, Spengler is still topical, especially following the recent political and economic-health crises that evoke the «spectre of decline». From a critical perspective, Adorno was the first to acknowledge Spengler’s topicality and superiority to numerous liberal-progressive opponents. For its part, this current essay, via an ancipital impulse to critique and salvation, aims at exploring Spengler’s idea of fatal/factual decline by unmasking its aporias and ambiguities through comparing it to Adorno’s «silent and questioning utopia», dialectically preserved «in the image of decadence». Through this close comparison and the development of Adorno’s critique, the paper urges to unveil, on the one hand, the “true” – negative – aspects of Spengler’s legacy and, on the other hand, the «forces», hidden from his «attentive gaze», that are «set free in decay». Ultimately, in the no man’s land between decline and utopia, Spengler and Adorno meet and their legacies intertwine. 


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