Studia Phaenomenologica, Volume 20/ 2020: Phenomenology and the History of Platonism

DE SANTIS, Daniele; MAJOLINO, Claudio (eds.)


Studia Phaenomenologica, Volume 20/ 2020: Phenomenology and the History of Platonism

Daniele de Santis, Claudio Majolino: Phaenomenologia sub specie Platonis. Editors’ Introduction [OPEN ACCESS]

Adolf ReinachLa philosophie de Platon (traduction et introduction par Aurélien Djian)

Abstract: In these 1910 summer semester lectures, Adolf Reinach, uses the concept of arché as a guiding thread to sketch out a history of Platonic philosophy and to trace it back to the Presocratics. More precisely, by means of this philosophical attempt to offer a historical account, Reinach intends to flesh out what he thinks is the main contribution of Plato to philosophy, and which, at the same time, turns out to be the roots of his own philosophy, namely: to consider ideal objects as the arché of philosophy; to use the phenomenological method; and, last but not least, to devote his research to the study of the things themselves, rather than (like Socrates) to the elucidation of the main subjective opinions of his time. Thus, this is Reinach’s Plato that we finally see emerging from a reading of his lectures—a Plato who, in spite of being “non-historical,” “non-true,” appears as the figure who nonetheless motivated him to follow his own philosophical path.

Emanuele MarianiL’entrelacs des traditions : Brentano, l’analogia entis et le platonisme

Abstract: Just hearing the names of Brentano and Plato put together is enough to highlight the queerness of a matching which finds almost no evidence in critical literature. The study of the texts in which Brentano explicitly deals with Plato, in particular in his lectures on the history of Greek philosophy, does not change much of the negative impression that emerges from a general overview: the place of Plato in the history of philosophy depends, for Brentano, on Aristotle or, better, on the accomplishment of Greek philosophy that occurs in Aristotle’s work. We shall turn our attention towards the analysis of certain relevant problems in order to open up, if possible, a less negative prospect for the relationship of Brentano to Plato: not so much directly by examining Platonic philosophy from a Brentanian point of view as by considering the concrete solution that Brentano provides to some Aristotelian questions. To put it differently, we shall take into account not so much what Brentano says of Plato, as what Brentano does with Aristotle, by tracking the Platonizing traces that can be found in the Brentanian commentary to Aristotle’s categories, the philosophical consequences of which seem to be reflected in Brentano’s overall philosophical project.

Emiliano TrizioHusserl’s Timaeus. Plato’s Creation Myth and the Phenomenological Concept of Metaphysics as the Teleological Science of the World

Abstract: According to Husserl, Plato played a fundamental role in the development of the notion of teleology, so much so that Husserl viewed the myth narrated in the Timaeus as a fundamental stage in the long history that he hoped would eventually lead to a teleological science of the world grounded in transcendental phenomenology. This article explores this interpretation of Plato’s legacy in light of Husserl’s thesis that Plato was the initiator of the ideal of genuine science. It also outlines how Husserl sought conceptual resources within transcendental phenomenology to turn the key elements of Plato’s creation myth into rigorous scientific ideas.

Reza RokoeeLa Paideia phénoménologique entre Husserl et Fink

Abstract: The question of Paideia analysed in Jaeger’s pioneering study may be linked to Husserl’s question of the formation of the monadic self, intersubjectivity and the foundation of the community of human beings. Husserl’s phenomenological education manifests itself in the formation of an ego and a phenomenological community. In addition, Fink, having close intellectual links with Husserl, undertakes an in-depth analysis of the question of education as a sublime model of the Greek city. In this paper we propose a comparative analysis about Paideia between Husserl’s late writings since his Cartesian Meditations, and Fink’s relevant works.

Aurélien Djian: Hen epi pollôn. The Origin of Husserl’s Eidetic Variation and the Divide between Plato and Aristotle on the Universal

Abstract: It is commonly known that Husserl’s eidetic variation is of paramount importance for phenomenology. For if phenomenology is a science of pure essences and formulates scientific laws about such essences, there has to be something like a method to follow in order to discover and test such eidetic truths; and this method is dubbed as eidetic variation. Now, a crucial aspect of this method has not been under active consideration yet: namely, as Husserl stresses in Experience and Judgment, that the eidetic variation is somehow to be related to the Greek notion of “hen epi pollôn”: the one over the many. An expression first used by Aristotle in the context of his dispute with Plato on the status of intelligible objects as universals. Accordingly, it seems clear that, by using this expression, Husserl wanted to refer his method to this Aristotle/Plato divide. The aim of this paper is to take this claim seriously, and to show, by an historical detour which takes into consideration this dispute, in which sense this method can be considered as a crucial contribution to the tradition to which phenomenology belongs, namely the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition.

William H. KochPhenomenology and the Problem of Universals

Abstract: This paper argues that the Problem of Universals as derived from Plato, i.e. the question of how abstract universal knowledge is possible and what that knowledge is of, is at the center of Phenomenology. It will be shown how Husserl’s answer to this question, via phenomenological epoche and eidetic variation, orients him primarily within the field of modern philosophy and is open to the standard criticisms of universal knowledge and abstraction offered by Hume and Berkeley. Heidegger, in more overtly recognizing the origin of the problem in Plato and orienting phenomenology directly in relation to the Platonic answer to that problem, is able to achieve a clarity about the modern prejudices of philosophy and so is able to reinvent phenomenology free from the distortions of an unquestioned metaphysics of presence and assumption of the necessity of structure grounded in an unrecognized substance ontology.

Francesco FronterottaÊtre, présence et vérité: Platon chez Heidegger (et à rebours)

AbstractIn this article, I wish to present and discuss some Heideggerian theses concerning the notions of “being,” “presence” and “truth” in Plato’s dialogues, taking as a point of departure Heidegger’s course on Plato’s Sophist given in Marburg in 1924–1925. My aim is to show that the fundamental philosophical link that unites them makes it possible to better understand seemingly obscure aspects of the Platonic conception of being and knowledge as it is presented in particular in the concluding pages of Republic V (476e–479e), to which this article is therefore essentially devoted.

Katherine DaviesHeidegger’s Reading(s) of the Phaedrus

Abstract: In the 1920s and 30s, Heidegger developed three explicit readings of Plato’s Phaedrus. These readings emphasize different dimensions of Plato’s dialogue and, at times, seem even to contradict one another. Though Heidegger pursues quite different interpretations of the dialogue, he remains steadfast in praising this Platonic dialogue above all others. I argue that these explicit readings provide fertile ground for reconsidering Heidegger’s engagement with Plato and not just with Platonism. I further develop an argument that a fourth, implicit reading of Phaedrus can be found in Heidegger’s own dialogical text from the late 1940s, das abendländische Gespräch. I suggest that it is in this conversational text, where Plato’s name is never once mentioned, that Heidegger manages his most authentic engagement with the Platonic dialogue and with Plato himself.

Filip KarfíkCritique et appropriation. Les platonismes dans les écrits de Jan Patočka de l’après-guerre

Abstract: The paper deals with a series of writings on Plato and Platonism issued by Jan Patočka (1907–1977) in the immediate post-war period. In Eternity and Historicity (1947), he contrasts Platonism as metaphysics of being with Socratism as questioning the meaning of human existence, and criticizes modern forms of Platonism of ethical values interpreted as objectively valid norms. In lectures on Plato (1947–1948), he explains Plato’s theory of Forms in terms of Husserl’s theory of horizontal intentionality and Heidegger’s theory of ontological difference. Similarly, in Negative Platonism (1952) he interprets Plato’s theory of Forms in terms of a distinction he makes between the eidetic contents (the intelligible Form) and the transcendental character (chōrismos) of the Platonic Idea. The latter is the necessary condition of the former but it does not constitute an intelligible object of its own. Patočka suggests that it is important to retain the Platonic notion of transcendence while dissociating it from the metaphysics of intelligible Forms. The paper puts these post-war writings on Plato and Platonism into the context of Patočka’s search for his own position as a phenomenologist.

Georgios Tsagdis, Rozemund UljéeSubject to Soul, Object to World: Jan Patočka’s Platonism of Care

Abstract: Jan Patočka thought travels on the parallel rails of a-subjective phenomenology and the care of the soul. For the most part, their parallel supportive function remains unproblematic. However, in order to appreciate the significance of Patočka’s contribution to the history of philosophy and the stakes of its undertaking, the alignment of the rails must be tested: how can a phenomenology, which strives to dislocate the subject from its experiential privilege, attempt to bring the soul into both the onto-epistemic as well as the ethico-political epicentre? By revising Platonism, Patočka wagers an ambitious, fragile answer, which opens nothing less than the space of freedom.

Sylvain RouxIs Levinas a Platonist? The interpretation of Plato in Totality and Infinity

Abstract: Levinas’ relationship to Platonism is ambiguous. In Totality and Infinity, indeed, references to Plato’s writings are multiple and Levinas depicts Plato as following two diverging paths. On the one hand, Levinas considers Plato’s writings to be works that consecrate the primacy of identity over difference, of the Same over the Other. On the other hand, Platonism is presented as a philosophy of absolute transcendence due to its refusal to make the Good a simple ontological principle and its attempt to free the Good from all forms of totality. The present study aims to show that, although Levinas criticizes the first path taken by Plato, he conceives of himself as partially in line with Plato’s philosophy of absolute transcendence, albeit in a paradoxical form. In this way, Levinas understands the meaning of the Platonic approach in an original way.

Paul SlamaThe onto-agathological fold of metaphysics: Aristotle, Plato and Heidegger

Abstract: The goal of this paper is twofold. First, it aims to identify in Heidegger’s work a determination of the history of metaphysics parallel to the famous onto-theological one, and which I will label onto-agathological. Based upon a text from the course of 1935, “Einführung in die Metaphysik,” I argue that for Heidegger the history of metaphysics is not only the Aristotelian onto-theology, but is also characterized by the Platonic pre-eminence of the good over being (Republic 509c). In short, it is an onto-agathological history. Second, and as a consequence of the first point, I will flesh out the hypothesis of another history of metaphysics, and emphasize its strong phenomenological content which stands in opposition to the Neo-Kantianism of Windelband and Rickert.

J. Leavitt PearlÀ Denys: Tracing Jean-Luc Marion’s Dionysian Hermeneutics

AbstractSince his 1977 The Idol and Distance (L’idole et la distance), Jean-Luc Marion has almost continually drawn upon the work of the 5th-6th century Christian mystic Pseudo-Denys the Areopagite (Pseudo-Dionysius), not only within his explicitly theological considerations, but throughout his Cartesian and phenomenological work as well. The present essay maps out the influence of Denys upon Marion’s thinking, organizing Marion’s career into a three-part periodization, each of which corresponds to a distinct portion of the Dionysian corpus—in Marion’s work of the seventies the Celestial Hierarchy and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy are foregrounded, in the eighties this emphasis is shifted to the The Divine Names, and in the nineties The Mystical Theology takes center stage. Insofar as these emphases directly correlate to the unique tasks that Marion has set himself in each of these various periods, Dionysius is revealed as a hermeneutical key, unlocking and clarifying crucial aspects of Marion’s theologically-inflected phenomenology.


Bernhard WaldenfelsResponsivity and co-responsivity from a phenomenological point of view

AbstractIn this article I shall largely make use of terms like “responding,” “responsive,” and “responsivity.” These terms are not part of traditional philosophy. They became indispensable for my own thinking when I tried to develop a theory of radical Fremdheit, of alienness or otherness. Hence I came to a sort of responsive phenomenology that does not replace current variants of phenomenology, but sets a new tone. This is what I try to show in my article. I shall proceed in four steps. In the first step, dealing with the formation of the theory, I try to show how our experience of radical otherness leads to the key concept of responsivity (sect. 1–3). In the second step, I shall describe the main features of responsivity and its pathological deviations (sect. 4–6). In the third step, this perspective will be expanded by referring to co-affection and co-responsivity as elements of proto-sociality (sect. 7). The fourth and last step will offer a practical outlook, raising the question to what extent responsivity can be organised and institutionalised (sect. 8).

Thomas Byrne‘Principally Unacceptable’ Theory: Husserl’s Rejection and Revision of his Philosophy of Meaning Intentions from the Logical Investigations

AbstractThis paper accomplishes two goals. First, the essay elucidates Husserl’s descriptions of meaning consciousness from the 1901 Logical Investigations. I examine Husserl’s observations about the three ways we can experience meaning and I discuss his conclusions about the structure of meaning intentions. Second, the paper explores how Husserl reworked that 1901 theory in his 1913/14 Revisions to the Sixth Investigation. I explore how Husserl transformed his descriptions of the three intentions involved in meaningful experience. By doing so, Husserl not only recognized intersubjective communication as the condition of possibility of linguistic meaning acts, but also transformed his account of the structure of both signitive and intuitive acts. In the conclusion, I cash out this analysis, by showing how, on the basis of these new insights, Husserl reconstructs his theory of fulfilment.


Alexandru Bejinariu: Vincent Blok, Heidegger’s Concept of Philosophical Method: Innovating Philosophy in the Age of Global Warming (Routledge, 2019)
Delia Popa: István Fazakas, Le clignotement du soi. Genèse et institutions de l’ipséité (Mémoires des Annales de Phénoménologie, 2020)
Grégori Jean: Anne Devarieux, L’Intériorité réciproque. L’hérésie biranienne de Michel Henry (Jérôme Millon, 2018)
Valeria Bizzari: Michela Beatrice Ferri (ed.), The Reception of Husserlian Phenomenology in North America (Springer, 2019)
Nicola Spano: Andrea Staiti, Etica Naturalistica e Fenomenologia (il Mulino, 2020)
Christian Ferencz-Flatz: Erik Norman Dzwiza-Ohlsen, Die Horizonte der Lebenswelt. Sprachphilosophische Studien zu Husserls erster Phänomenologie der Lebenswelt (Brill, 2019)

ISBN: 978-606-697-120-1 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-606-697-121-8 (eBook)
ISSN: 1582-5647 (print)
ISSN: 2069-0061 (online)

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