The Esoteric Plato

In the History of Ancient Phil class, we move to Plato starting Monday. (BTW, I’ve never been more impressed by the Eleatics as I have when teaching them these past two weeks. Surely, if anyone cares at that point, someone will dig this up for my retirement as the moment that I went in for Idealism.) In any case, it’s a good time to read the actual arguments that have been offered for the deep music within Plato’s corpus:

A new discovery has transformed our view of Plato and therefore of the origins of philosophy and science. It vindicates some ancient interpretations, but leads to major, unexpected revelations about Plato’s pioneering role in music, mathematics, and literary theory.

The quickest route to the core findings begins with some philosophical mysteries and then proceeds through certain little-known aspects of ancient book production.

First, the mysteries. Despite generations of intensive study, some issues surrounding Plato’s dialogues and their history remain stubbornly unresolved.

What was Plato’s positive philosophy? Plato depicted the brilliant talk of earlier philosophers, but never stepped forward to state his own views directly. Every reader wrestles with this problem of Platonic anonymity. Most of us form some opinion of Plato’s central agenda and philosophy but, strictly speaking, this is more or less conjecture. The range of possible views is illustrated by the minority, in both ancient and modern times, who concluded that Plato was a destructive sceptic with no positive views at all. For them, Plato was merely a brilliant provocateur. His final allegiance was to Socrates’ claim that we are altogether ignorant. …

Also up next week is Heidegger (if I ever can lure myself aware from Husserl’s work on time and the life-world) in the Continental course, and then a transition from Fanon to Gilroy in the Race course. (Each course is back-to-back, so it’s quite a mental move during Mon and Wed, though I’m not complaining, since it’s a great year of teaching.)



  1. I teach Plato next week. I’m really looking forward to it. Last time I taught him the esoteric side was so plain. Part of what pulled me towards OOO interestingly. Or not.

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