Plato and Heidegger

Plato and Heidegger : A Question of Dialogue

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In a critique of Heidegger that respects his path of thinking, Francisco Gonzalez looks at the ways in which Heidegger engaged with Plato's thought over the course of his career and concludes that, owing to intrinsic requirements of Heidegger's own philosophy, he missed an opportunity to conduct a real dialogue with Plato that would have been philosophically fruitful for us all.

Examining in detail early texts of Heidegger's reading of Plato that have only recently come to light, Gonzalez, in parts 1 and 2, shows there to be certain affinities between Heidegger's and Plato's thought that were obscured in his 1942 essay "Plato's Doctrine of Truth," on which scholars have exclusively relied in interpreting what Heidegger had to say about Plato. This more nuanced reading, in turn, helps Gonzalez provide in part 3 an account of Heidegger's later writings that highlights the ways in which Heidegger, in repudiating the kind of metaphysics he associated with Plato, took a direction away from dialectic and dialogue that left him unable to pursue those affinities that could have enriched Heidegger's own philosophy as well as Plato's. "A genuine dialogue with Plato," Gonzalez argues, "would have forced [Heidegger] to go in certain directions where he did not want to go and could not go without his own thinking undergoing a radical transformation."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 376 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 26mm | 572g
  • Pennsylvania, United States
  • English
  • 2 Charts
  • 0271035595
  • 9780271035598
  • 1,646,858

Table of contents



List of Abbreviations

Introduction: What Is to Be Gained from a Confrontation Between Plato and Heidegger?

Part 1: Heidegger's Critical Reading of Plato in the 1920s

1. Dialectic, Ethics, and Dialogue

A. Heidegger's Critique of Dialectic in the 1920s

B. Ethics and Ontology

C. Ethics in Plato's Sophist

D. Heidegger and Dialogue

E. Conclusion

2. Logos and Being

A. The Tensions in Heidegger's Critique

B. The Guiding Perspective of o as Undermining the Ontic/Ontological Distinction

C. Heidegger on Plato's Forms

D. Being as v

E. Conclusion: The Relation Between Being and o

Part 2: Heidegger on Plato's Truth and Untruth in the 1930s and 1940s

3. From the 1931-32 and 1933-34 Courses on the Essence of Truth to "Plato's Doctrine of Truth": Heidegger's Transformation of Plato into Platonism Through the Interpretation of the Sun and Cave Analogies of the Republic

A. The Courses on the Essence of Truth from WS 1931/32 and WS 1933/34

B. Plato's Truth in the Beitrage of 1936-38

C. Plato's Doctrine of Truth in 1940

D. The End of Truth: The 1964 Retraction

E. Conclusion: The End of Truth?

4. The Dialogue That Could Have Been: Heidegger on the Theaetetus

A. The Theaetetus Interpretation in Die Grundbegriffe der antiken Philosophie (SS 1926)

B. The Interpretation of the Theaetetus in the Vom Wesen der Wahrheit Course of 1931-32 and 1933-34

C. Conclusion: Heidegger's Orthodoxy

5. The 1942 Interpretation of in the Myth of Er (Republic Book 10)

A. The Roman Versus the Greek Conception of Truth

B. Saying in the Myth of Er

C. Purging the Myth of Er: The Ontologizing of Ethics and Politics

D. The Greek Experience of the Open: A Saying That Points and Hints Versus the "Leap"

E. Conclusion: Leaping Beyond Plato

Part 3: Opportunities for a Dialogue with Plato in the Late Heidegger

6. Calculative Thinking, Meditative Thinking, and the Practice of Dialogue

A. Heidegger's Critique of Logos in the 1930s

B. Dialogue as Bringing to Speech the Unsaid

C. Plato's Dialectic or Hegel's?

D. A Saying Beyond Assertion

E. Plato's Dialogues and Heidegger's Leap

F. Heidegger and the Dialogue Form

G. Redefining Hermeneutics

H. Back to the Beginning with Dialectic and Dialogue

I. Conclusion: Dialectic Versus Sophia Again

7. Dialectic and Phenomenology in "Zeit und Sein": A Pivotal Chapter in Heidegger's Confrontation with Plato

A. From Dialectic and Hermeneutics to Phenomenology

B. The Auseinandersetzung with Plato

C. Conclusion

Works Cited

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Review quote

"Gonzalez offers an insightful, impressively detailed, critical study of Heidegger's work on Plato--from his earliest lecture courses to his later essays."

--R. M. Stewart, Choice "Gonzalez presents a critical study of Heidegger's reading of Plato and argues that Heidegger--although he closely analyzed Plato's philosophy--did not enter a real dialogue with Plato. Gonzalez's aim is to imagine the dialogue that Heidegger failed to have with Plato and show us the way Heidegger's own thought was influenced by the refusal of this dialogue. This is a very original work that will be of interest to many philosophers."

--Catalin Partenie, University of Quebec at Montreal "Francisco Gonzalez's book is the most thorough study yet of Heidegger's encounter with the work of Plato throughout his career. Gonzalez traces the development of Heidegger's attitude toward Plato from his early lecture courses to the very end of his career in exhaustive detail. Despite the relentless critique of Heidegger's Plato interpretations within its pages, the book presses for a positive conclusion, that it is up to us to engage the genuine dialogue between these two thinkers that Heidegger himself could never adequately accomplish."

--Drew A. Hyland, Trinity College
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About Francisco J. Gonzalez

Francisco J. Gonzalez is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa.
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