University of Oulu

Huhtala, Hanna-Maija. "Anti-theodicies – An Adornian approach" Human Affairs, vol. 31, no. 2, 2021, pp. 223-235.

Anti-theodicies : an Adornian approach

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Author: Huhtala, Hanna-Maija1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education University of Oulu P.O.Box 8000 FI-90014 Oulu Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: De Gruyter, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-01-16


The question of why bad things happen (to good people) has puzzled individuals over generations and across different cultures. The most popular approach is to turn the issue into a question about God: Why does he allow bad things that lead to the suffering of often innocent bystanders? Some have drawn conclusions that there can be no God. These attempts that seek to find meaning in suffering are called theodicies. Thus, theodicies promise that the torment of the innocent is not in vain. In this article, I argue that theodicy as a viewpoint, independent of its intention, does injustice to the experience of the sufferer. Furthermore, an Adornian approach to suffering avoids the instrumentalization of others’ suffering and that instead of relating to another person’s suffering through theodicy, Adorno’s notion of non-identity opens up an alternative, non-coercive avenue.

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Series: Human affairs
ISSN: 1210-3055
ISSN-E: 1337-401X
ISSN-L: 1210-3055
Volume: 31
Issue: 2
Pages: 223 - 235
DOI: 10.1515/humaff-2021-0018
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 611 Philosophy
515 Psychology
Funding: This research was supported financially by the Eudaimonia Institute of the University of Oulu and is part of the project Citizenship in Change: Constructing a Novel Theoretical Framework for Education.
Copyright information: © Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences.