The posthumous life of Plato

Allegorical interpretations of Plato
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The affirmative does not let itself be specified. Rather, it is the thought of reality as thinking as well as of a single unity, the concept and its reality in the movement of science, the idea of a scientific whole. Finally, in his remarks on esotericism in Socrates and Plato, Hegel differs from both Lessing and Tennemann on the one hand and Schleiermacher on the other.

In proclaiming his ignorance, Socrates says what he has to say—nothing. That looks as if the philosopher possessed his thoughts like external things.

It is quite the other way around: the philosophic idea possesses the human being. When philosophers explicate philosophic topics, they must judge according to their ideas; they cannot keep them in their pockets. However, this is merely a matter of leaving it to speculation to bring thoughts together as unions of the different, as in the case of the identity of being and nonbeing.

It is not as if Plato had two philosophies, one for the world, for the people, the other the inner, reserved for intimates. There is no Platonic silence. He is absolutely obtuse to the extraordinary premeditation that Plato put into the construction of a dialogue. At the same time, he is a fragmentizer who mangles Plato by taking from him what fits his preconceived scheme. In all this, he virtually confesses to a total inability to comprehend Plato, and arrives at an imaginary knowledge of him. This appears misguided to me. We are not sure whether each of the sketches is true to its model or misrepresents it, so averaging them proves nothing.

Kierkegaard also sides with Schleiermacher against Hegel in the hermeneutic dispute. He courageously accuses Hegel of reading Plato uncritically. He believes that we must describe Socrates as historically and dramatically distinct from Plato. On this basis, he attributes different kinds of irony to each of the classical masters. Like Samson, Socrates seizes the pillars that support knowledge and hurls everything down into the void of ignorance.

The external was not at all in harmonious unity with the inner but was rather its opposite.

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The opinion that Socrates is called by a god to an ironic overthrow of knowledge might be deluded. However, a nonideological reader who is faithful to Plato could judge that Socrates is plausibly and perhaps even justifiably serious about a god. His meaning for his contemporaries is that they got there. Why this silence, though? Friedrich Nietzsche is a self-proclaimed esotericist.

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How does the philosopher hide what he harbors? Second, what does he conceal? Third, why does he hide it? This little gem of self-revelation bears the following interpretation: There is abroad in our land an understanding of esotericism that explains it as a defense against persecution. The philosopher knows truths that the many would detest as follies and crimes. If the philosopher proclaimed these truths, the many might murder him for his outrages. Epitomizing the right view, Nietzsche trumpets the truths that the many see as follies and crimes, not addressing the many but not preventing them from hearing, either.

Plato Texts and Translations

Plato's earthly life ended in the year B. C. At the same time, however, began his posthumous life - a life of great influence and fame leaving its mark on aU. The Posthumous Life of Plato [F. Novotny] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

He flaunts his commitment to these verities, which is authentic rather than feigned, with an astonishing frankness. He wants his auditors to know that he embraces what the vulgar call follies and crimes. Thus, the many do not stand outside, but inside his confidence. However, they still do not grasp what more the philosopher thinks, for he stands on a height far above them, while they wallow in a depth far below. The unsuited have as much chance of unraveling the deeper truths as a dog has of grasping the ramifications of a book open under its paw.

In the meantime, the philosopher cannot be troubled to care that the many hate him for shocking their sensibilities. His esotericism is one of superior intelligence, defiance, and strength, not one of secrecy and fearfulness. What is it that could be so opaque to the many? Whatever it is, why does Nietzsche not simply announce it if the unqualified never could grasp it anyway? Why should he bother to write books to veil it? In either case, it does not appear to make sense to conceal something if it is intrinsically obscure to those from whom one proposes to hide it. Nietzsche supplies a motive for this curious behavior in one of his most famous passages.

He says:. The spirit wills to be and to feel itself lord of itself and its surroundings. It is motivated by his delight in masks, by his will to be lord, by his sense of the proper attire for the shame of a god, by his need to veil his mortal danger from his dearest friends and even from himself, and by his desire for a feeling of security behind his masks. All this generates more perplexities that require analysis.

I shall return to the problem of why Nietzsche himself loves masks at the appropriate juncture. In his exoteric remarks, at least, Nietzsche counts Socrates and Plato among the idols consigned to destruction by the hammer. What inspires this outpouring of contempt on Socrates and Plato? To learn this, one must look where Nietzsche points, into The Birth of Tragedy. There, Nietzsche recounts the experience that causes him to disdain the classical philosophers. He relates the story of how Midas captured Silenus and asked him what is most desirable for man. But the second best is for you—to die soon.

However, it also means a great deal more. She alone is able to bend these nauseous thoughts about the dreadfulness and absurdity of existence into conceptions with which one can live. No others did I find today strong enough for that. Instead of behaving as a coward before reality, he admits the absurdity of being but wills it into insignificance.

It relegates art to the realm of lies and damns it. In brief, a Christian.

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Socrates and Plato played vile roles in this depravation of the species. Nietzsche rhetorically suggests that Socrates resolved to be so scientific only out of cowardly fear of the truth. It is within the framework of this history that Nietzsche takes up the topic of Socratic and Platonic irony. He offers a twofold analysis of these phenomena. A subtle emergency defense against—the truth? And, morally speaking, a sort of cowardice and falseness? Amorally speaking, a crafty deceit Schlauheit? O enigmatic ironist, was that perhaps your—irony? His irony consisted in a compulsive refusal to acknowledge the void and to stop his frantic search for intelligibility each time honesty demanded it.

It was a psychological defense mechanism. Second, in considering ethics, Nietzsche calculates that the nonexistence of moral facts implies that all claims to insight into good and evil must be either foolish or dishonest. Which explanation is the true one? How, though, can Nietzsche prove this?

How can he be certain that ethics has not always been a terrible blunder? He defends his stance in one of his notebook entries that his sister collected under the title The Will to Power.

The fanatics are not the discoverers of such thought out systems of oppression. Here the most cold-blooded circumspection was at work, as Plato had it when he thought out his Republic.

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Then they figure out what they need to acquire and exercise power and concoct falsehoods about morality to satisfy these requirements. Should one be satisfied with this, or are there reasons to suspect that Nietzsche has a deeper teaching about the classical philosophers that uses these censures as exoteric cover? There are some difficulties attendant upon the summarized arguments that require one to tarry a while over this question. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra and several other major works by Nietzsche, the will to power is the highest, not to say the only, reality.

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Nietzsche apparently contradicts himself. How can his inconsistencies be reconciled? First, the type of esotericism envisaged here is not the superior, defiant, strong kind that Nietzsche proclaims from above. Second, the account suggested here is less coherent than the incoherence that it purports to reconcile. Nietzsche claims to suffer because his reality is absurd. He wants to attain to another existence, or a different consciousness, in which the defect of his reality is repaired or neutralized.

He also desires to communicate this intention to others. What it does is to express itself as the self-overcoming drive of the potential or realized overman and also to bend back upon itself in the sickly, self-destructive manner of the weaklings. His usages are equivocal. His charges that they were craven degenerates who destroyed an art that saved mankind through appearance, that they replaced it with a sterile philosophy of Ideas, and that they thus exposed the race to the disease of Christian morality are not esoteric tricks.

Neither are his attacks on Socrates and Plato as thinkers who were ironic for reasons of cowardice and a sickly envy. Nietzsche still claims to be an esotericist himself, however.