The Idea of Negative Platonism: Jan Patočka's Critique and Recovery of Metaphysics

Thesis Eleven 90 (1):6-26 (2007)

The idea of negative Platonism, first formulated by Jan Patočka in the early 1950s, can be understood as an interpretation of the history of philosophy, with particular reference to its Greek beginnings, as well as a strategy for critical engagement with the metaphysical tradition and a reformulation of central phenomenological themes. Patočka reconstructs the Greek road to metaphysics as a shift from a non-objectifying comprehension of the world as a totality to a quest for systematic knowledge of ultimate reality. In light of this reclaimed background, he then proposes a new reading of Plato: the realm of ideas, separate from empirical reality, becomes a symbol of human freedom, understood as an ability to transcend the world and in so doing grasp it as a totalizing horizon. The concept of freedom thus links a submerged theme of metaphysics to more explicit concerns of contemporary thought
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DOI 10.1177/0725513607079250
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Plato: The Written and Unwritten Doctrines.Maurice Cohen - 1976 - Philosophical Review 85 (3):432.

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