Dialectic as "philosophical embarrassment": Heidegger's critique of Plato's method

Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (3):361-389 (2002)
Abstract
361DIALECTIC AS ?PHILOSOPHICAL EMBARRASSMENT? * Francisco Gonzalez is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Skidmore College. Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 40, no. 3 361?89 [361] Dialectic as ?Philosophical Embarrassment?: Heidegger?s Critique of Plato?s Method FRANCISCO GONZALEZ* Philosophie ist ein Ringen um die Methode. Hans-Georg Gadamer has expressed the following debt to the thought of Martin Heidegger: ?The philosophical stimuli I received from Heidegger led me more and more into the realm of dialectic, Plato?s as well as Hegel?s.?1 It is therefore surprising to discover that Heidegger himself did not see his thought as leading him into the realm of dialectic. On the contrary, in Being and Time we find a curt and unexplained dismissal of dialectic, specifically Plato?s, as a ?genuine philosophical embarrassment? .2 This dismissal is repeated in the Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics course of WS 1929/30 where Heidegger asserts that ?all dialectic in philosophy,? and thus that of Hegel as well as Plato, ?is only the expression of an embarrassment.?3 Only with the publication of Heidegger?s earlier lecture courses from the 1920s, are we in a position to understand and evaluate this surprising dismissal. We are also in a better position to understand why even the later Heidegger failed to reassess his rejection of dialectic, despite the existence of strong incentives for doing so: incentives recognized not only by..
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