Go to the menu Skip to content


New Projects Seminar Series: Matter and pain: On Adorno’s interpretation of Hegel

Andrzej Frelek, GSSR PhD student (Year 3, Philosophy)
23/02/2023, 2:30 pm – 3:40 pm

Event supported by NAWA Welcome to Poland.


This chapter is devoted to the issue of Adorno’s relationship with Hegel’s legacy and the main themes of Hegelian philosophy. I seek to understand the import of Hegel’s philosophical project for Adorno’s critical theory, especially within the light of Adorno’s oft-repeated statements on the necessity of reading Hegel and his emphasis on understanding modernity in the light of Hegel. Contrary to Adorno’s claims of his critique of Hegel being strictly immanent, I argue that it follows Marx’s own critique of Hegel, building directly on it and expanding its themes through the use of Marxian concepts. The analysis I make is based on lesser known texts of Adorno, but those where his engagement with Hegelian philosophy is the most direct. Special emphasis is laid on the importance of Hegel: Three Studies, accompanied by the chosen series of lectures given before Adorno finished his work on Negative Dialectics. Guided by the source material, this chapter follows Adorno’s line of inquiry which, in my interpretation, seeks to trace back Hegel’s most important concepts to their material roots. In this way, an important complementarity of Adorno and Marx is uncovered.

Seminar structure & timetable

Prof. Szymon Wróbel (PhD supervisor)
IFiS PAN and University of Warsaw
Prof. Ray Brassier (serves as reviewer and provides comments)
American University of Beirut
Barbara Barysz (GSSR doctoral candidate in Philosophy, serves as Chair and moderates the discussion)
  • 2:30 pm
    Introduction: Prof. Szymon Wróbel, IFiS PAN and University of Warsaw
  • 2:35 pm
    Presentation: Andrzej Frelek, GSSR
  • 3:10 pm
    Comments: Prof. Ray Brassier, American University of Beirut
  • 3:20 pm-3:40 pm
    Discussion, Questions and Answers, and Closing remarks


Andrzej Frelek
Ph.D. candidate at GSSR
Andrzej Frelek is a Ph.D. candidate at GSSR, pursuing a degree in Philosophy (IFiS PAN). He is primarily interested in Marx’s critique of political economy and the critical theory of Theodor Adorno. In his work he applies the approaches of those two thinkers to problems connected with climate change and the relation of society to nature. In his multidisciplinary work, Andrzej also utilizes theoretical inputs from other fields, such as those of sustainability studies, environmental sociology, literary theory and psychoanalysis. Andrzej is currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation on critical theory of climate change, based on updated readings and new interpretations of Marx and Adorno, aiming to prove the complementarity of those two tinkers and their contemporary importance.

The New Projects Seminar Series brings together PhD students and faculty from GSSR and beyond who are working in the same field, to promote closer interaction and open collaboration opportunities. GSSR students present well-advanced research related to their dissertation, with experienced scholars from academic centers in Poland and abroad taking the role of commentators.

Listen to Andrzej Frelek’s talk on “Matter and pain: On Adorno’s interpretation of Hegel” on our Youtube channel: