The Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry: Studies in Ancient Thought

The Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry: Studies in Ancient Thought

Stanley Rosen

Language: English

Pages: 238

ISBN: 0415907454

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Now available in paperback, The Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry focuses on the theoretical and practical suppositions of the long-standing conflict between philosophy and poetry. Stanley Rosen--one of the leading Plato scholars of our day--examines philosophical activity, questioning whether technical philosophy is a species of poetry, a political program, an interpretation of human existence according to the ideas of 19th and 20th-century thinkers, or a contemplation of beings and Being.

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of the Persians and Egyptians (I.1; II.3, 77, 116–120).1 The poet (Homer) represses information if it is not compatible with the epic; but Herodotus will write on principle of the stories or traditions he has heard (II.120, 123). At first this seems to mean that Herodotus is franker than Homer, but a moment’s reflection shows that this does not follow. For at II.123, Herodotus says that those who find the Egyptian stories persuasive may accept them; his own function is to record them all.

his fellow artisan, seeds and plants from others …” (274c5ff). So during the reign of Zeus man is preserved by the Olympian gods, and perhaps not with Zeus’ entire approval, although the Stranger says nothing on this score. The Olympian gods dwell within the cosmos; hence Zeus cannot be a corotator. As the Stranger says: since mankind has lost the epimeleia of the gods, they “had to manage themselves and take care of themselves” (274d3ff). Yet at the beginning of the same sentence he says that

disagreement with Heidegger about Being itself. At first glance, the “sun” is at least in some crucial respects surprisingly like Heidegger’s Sein. It is the giver of life as well as light, and so of man and speech. Its light can blind as well as illuminate, and hence “truth” as “presence” or “unconcealment” is inseparable from “absence” or a hiddenness by virtue of light itself. Its rising and setting may be understood as defining time and so, too, historically: the sun’s motion thus opens up

this we mean that he is concerned only with the process by which beings are lit up and reveal themselves as what they are for and to man.82 Such a process necessarily requires as an integral element the doing or acting of man. As I previously suggested, the inseparability of mind or thought from Being or beings is evident in the attribution of “future, past, present” to the play of Zeitraum. This directional structure, whatever it may be “in itself,” is described from the outset in terms of

knowledge of pure forms but rather of the political use of things by the technitēs. Just as falsehoods may be used for medicinal purposes, so too with knowledge. If we put to one side the private interest of the philosopher in the truth for its own sake, knowledge plays the same role in the Republic as does falsehood: it must be useful to the city. The philosopher, exactly like all other citizens, is produced by the nomos, “not that it may allow each man to take whatever direction he wishes, but

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