Plato at the Foundation of Disciplines: Method and the Metaxu in the Phaedrus, Sophist, and Symposium

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Author: Raphael Foshay, Athabasca University, Canada
Email: rfoshay@athabascau.ca
Published: \December 8, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.2.02

Citation: Foshay, R. (2017). Plato at the Foundation of Disciplines: Method and the Metaxu in the Phaedrus, Sophist, and Symposium. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.2.02


Abstract

This paper situates the interpretation of Plato in its 2500-year trajectory toward a significant change in the mid-twentieth century, away from the attempt to establish Plato’s metaphysical doctrines to a recognition of the intrinsic value of their literary-dramatic dialogue form. I discuss the lingering presence of doctrinal interpretation in the Nietzschean-Heideggerian tradition of Plato interpretation as it manifests in Derrida’s reading of Plato’s Phaedrus. I then give two examples of the transformative power of attention to the literary-dramatic structure of the dialogues in the work of two quite different but mutually confirming kinds of contemporary Plato interpretation, those by Catherine H. Zuckert and William Desmond, respectively. The Plato that emerges from their work confirms the growing recognition that the tradition of Platonism does not represent the thinking embodied in Plato’s dialogues.

Keywords

Plato, Platonism, Socrates, doctrine, interpretation, dialogue, drama, character, method, logic, inquiry, discourse, genre, eros, metaxu, the between, metaxology