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Heidegger and Plato

Toward Dialogue

Partenie and Rockmore

Publication Year: 2005

For Martin Heidegger the "fall" of philosophy into metaphysics begins with Plato. Thus, the relationship between the two philosophers is crucial to an understanding of Heidegger and, perhaps, even to the whole plausibility of postmodern critiques of metaphysics. It is also, as the essays in this volume attest, highly complex, and possibly founded on a questionable understanding of Plato.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

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pp. ix-

We would like to thank all our contributors for their patience and support. Thanks are also due to the three anonymous readers of the press who read the complete manuscript and offered helpful comments and criticism, and to Theodore Kisiel for his comments on the introduction. ...


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pp. xi-xviii

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pp. xix-xxviii

This is a volume of original essays on issues raised in Heidegger’s treatment of Plato. Important philosophers often have interesting things to say about their predecessors and/or their contemporaries. Martin Heidegger possessed an unusually detailed grasp of the history of Western philosophy. ...

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On the Purported Platonism of Heidegger’s Rectoral Address

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pp. 3-21

It should perhaps be no real surprise that Heidegger’s various concepts of the political invariably pass through the simple paradigms provided by the Greek polis. His early phenomenological concept of the political, which takes its point of departure from the equiprimordiality of Aristotle’s two definitions of the living being called human, as the talking and the political animal, develops its sense of the political arena punctuated ...

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Plato’s Legacy in Heidegger’s Two Readings of Antigone

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pp. 22-41

The topic “the two readings of Antigone by Heidegger” presupposes a historical background in German philosophy. By this I mean that time and again before Heidegger, major German philosophers have treated Greek tragedies as metaphysical documents. In Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, tragedy is construed ...

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Imprint: Heidegger’s Interpretation of Platonic Dialectic in the Sophist Lectures ( 1924– 25)

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pp. 42-71

In a letter to Karl Jaspers dated December 20, 1931, Heidegger describes himself as a simple “attendant” (Aufseher) in the great museum of philosophy. As such an attendant, he goes on, his sole duty is to make sure “that the blinds over the windows are raised and lowered correctly, so that the few great works of tradition receive a more or less adequate illumination for the chance observer.”1 ...

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Truth and Untruth in Plato and Heidegger

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pp. 72-95

In the Meno and Theaetetus Plato discusses true “belief” (doxa) and in the Sophist true “statement” (logos): the belief that Larissa is this way (Men., 97b1f.), the belief that the man in the distance is Socrates (Tht., 188a1ff.), the statement “Theaetetus is sitting” (Sph., 263a2). Truth of this type is coordinate with falsity. Such beliefs and statements can be false: that Larissa is that way, that the man in the distance is Theaetetus, and “Theaetetus is flying.” ...

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Heidegger and the Platonic Concept of Truth

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pp. 96-107

Heidegger’s philosophical training was based on the study of Aristotle, and his interpretation of the Platonic concept of truth was deeply influenced, as I shall argue, by his interpretation of the Aristotelian notion of truth. Accordingly, it is worth starting by outlining the main points of this interpretation, for it enables us to understand and better evaluate Heidegger’s analogous discourse with regard to Plato.1 ...

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Amicus Plato magis amica veritas: Reading Heidegger in Plato’s Cave

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pp. 108-120

We can find this passage partially transcribed by Heidegger in his Phänomenologische Interpretation von Kants Kritik der reiner Vernunft (WS 1927–28).2 The same idea is expressed in Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie (1927): “We not only want to, but also must understand the Greeks better than they understood themselves” (GA 24, 157; my translation). Through his career, Heidegger retained a strong interest in the Greeks. In fact, his insistence on the need to overcome metaphysics never meant ...

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Heidegger on Truth and Being

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pp. 121-139

There is hardly a topic on which philosophers have spawned more nonsense than the analysis of the nature and meaning of truth. Indeed, the twentieth century has spent an inordinate amount of capital on the question, much of it tendentious and utterly pointless. It literally lost its way among both analytic and continental theorists, who of course implacably opposed one another’s answers.1 Analysts, on the whole, favor a semantic account of the use of “true” confined to propositional contexts, notably ...

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With Plato into the Kairos before the Kehre: On Heidegger’s Different Interpretations of Plato

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pp. 140-177

For a volume in honor of Heidegger’s sixtieth birthday in 1949, Ernst Jünger contributed an essay entitled “Über die Linie.” When, six years later, Jünger himself reached this age, Heidegger reciprocated with an es-say of the same title except that he put die Linie in quotation marks (GA 9,385/291).1 Jünger’s title is ambiguous. It can announce the line as the...

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Remarks on Heidegger’s Plato

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pp. 178-191

Heidegger’s attitude toward Plato varies from one period of his career to another, but in general, Platonism means for him the so-called theory of Ideas. I say “so-called” because the word “theory” conveys to modern philosophical ears the notion of a systematic explanation containing well articulated principles and concepts from which the diverse phenomena being studied may be reduced to an underlying deductive unity that ...

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Heidegger’s Uses of Plato and the History of Philosophy

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pp. 192-212

It is sobering to realize, since so much in philosophy depends on interpreting written texts, those of our contemporaries as well as those written by philosophers who on occasion lived long ago, that, after some two and a half thousand years of debate, there is still no generally accepted view about how to read and to appropriate philosophical writings. This theme is confused and confusing. We can distinguish rival claims about textual interpretation as subjective or objective according whether it is believed we can get it right about what the text really or in fact says. ...

Appendix 1: Selected Platonic Loci and Issues Discussed or Referred to by Heidegger

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pp. 213-219

Appendix 2: Further Reading

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pp. 220-222


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pp. 223-232


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pp. 233-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780810161887
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810122338

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2005

Edition: 1
Series Title: Topics in Historical Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: McCumber, John