In this international and interdisciplinary collection of critical essays, distinguished contributors examine a crucial premise of traditional readings of Plato's dialogues: that Plato's own doctrines and arguments can be read off the statements made in the dialogues by Socrates and other leading characters. The authors argue in general and with reference to specific dialogues, that no character should be taken to be Plato's mouthpiece. This is essential reading for students and scholars of Plato.
Having thought out the Enlightenment project of individualism, privacy, and autonomy to its end, Anglo-American ethical theory now finds itself unable to respond to the collapse of community in which the practices justified by this project have resulted. In the place of reasonable deliberation about the goals to be chosen and the means to them, we now, it seems, have only what MacIntyre has aptly called “interminable debate” among “rival” positions, debate in which each party merely contends with the others (...) for its own advantage. And this circumstance MacIntyre himself seems unable to escape despite his best efforts. In further elaborating Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutical reception of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Hegel, and in referring simultaneously to Edmund Burke’s parallel political rhetoric, among other tradition-oriented arguments in the English language, this book seeks a recollection of shared ethical principles, a recollection which alone, it is argued, might prevent the devolution of discussion into war with words and make possible some measure of consensus, however provisional and shadowed by dissent it will be. (shrink)
These five essays on Hegel give the English-speaking reader a long-awaited opportunity to read the work of one of Germany's most distinguished philosophers, Hans-Georg Gadamer. Gadamer's unique hermeneutic method will have a lasting effect on Hegel studies.
And in what sense can one speak of the hermeneutics of original argument? In The Hermeneutics of Original Argument, P. Christopher Smith explores these questions in building upon Heidegger's hermeneutical thought.
I attempt in this paper to argue a thesis that is the opposite of the standard reading of Plato’s Symposium. I maintain that it is not the persuasive speech of thecomic or tragic poets that is criticized and undermined in the dialogue, but Socratic dialectic and dialogical argumentation. This is to say, it is not Aristophanes’ and Agathon’s speeches that are the object of Plato’s critique, but Socrates’ minimalist and rather unpoetic elenchos. My anaysis leads to the conclusion that Diotima’s (...) speech is meant to be recognized as Plato’s own invention in order to highlight the abstraction and utter unmusicality of Socratic dialectic. (shrink)
This paper uses the exchanges between the lovers Dido and Aeneas in Aeneid IV to undercut the pretensions of Stoic philosophers to lead a dispassionate, imperturbable life under the sole guidance of “reason.” It takes Aeneas as an example of Stoicism’s lawyer-like, falsified rationality—“I will say just a few words in regard to this matter [pro re]” —and Dido as an example of someone who, though under the sway of furor, nevertheless makes honest, reasoned arguments that are continuous with the (...) feelings she is experiencing. The point is not that one is more at fault than the other but the rather more radical thesis that with his Aeneas character Virgil is showing that Stoicism’s ataraxia and apatheia are inevitably dissimulation, inevitably fake. (shrink)
Nietzsche penetrates behind any rational discussion to its affective ground, but though he goes deeper than Gadamer's fusion of horizons, he nevertheless fails to acknowledge any other affective disposition besides the will to power. Hence for him Gadamer's Sichverständigung, or reaching an understanding, is fiction. In contrast, Gadamer's Zugehörigkeit, a sense of kinship, and Nachlassen, relenting, suggest not only the possibility of reaching an understanding but its real, affective ground. Two passages from Homer's Iliad illustrate how Nietzsche might penetrate behind (...) Gadamer's intellectualism yet how, at the same time, Gadamer ultimately gets beyond Nietzsche. In Book I, Achilles and Agamemnon can get no further than strife because of their pathos of rage and hostility. Here Nietzsche's will to power explains their altercation entirely. On the other hand, when Achilles is confronted with the devastated Priam in book XXIV, philia and eleos, kinship and mercy, replace his anger; and with the corresponding affective shift in Priam from fear of Achilles to his own feelings of kinship and forgiveness, antipathy becomes sympathy. Only this fusion of affect allows them to reach an understanding. (shrink)
158 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 34: ~ JANUARY 199 6 philosophical differences between Gramsci and himself could have been "easily" re- solved if they had only had the chance to talk them over. But if the prison letters left Croce with the impression that Gramsci was, in short, a good Crocean, the subsequent publication of the prison notebooks would soon dispel it. After reading the volumes of prison notebooks published in 1948 and 1949, the first of which to (...) appear was II materialismo storico e la filosofia di Benedetto Croce, Croce revised his earlier assessment, stating that "Grarnsci could not create a new form of thought and bring about the [intellectual] revolution attributed to him because his intention was simply to found in Italy a political party, an activity that has nothing to do with the dispassionate search for truth. TM Yet it was precisely the Crocean distinction between politics and philosophy that Gramsci had called into question in his prison notes on Croce and on philosophy more generally. And if the prison letters are less explicit on this point, they neverthe- less constitute a vivid documentation of both the political and personal context in which Gramsci pursued his philosophical and other.. (shrink)