In this book an eminent scholar presents a rich and penetrating analysis of the _Statesman_, perhaps Plato's most challenging work. Stanley Rosen contends that the main theme of this dialogue is a definition of the art of politics and the degree to which political experience is subject either to the rule of sound judgment or to technical construction. The _Statesman_, like Plato's earlier _Sophist_, features a Stranger who tries to refute Socrates. Much of his conversation is devoted to a minute (...) analysis of the art of weaving, selected by the Stranger as a paradigm of the royal art of politics, for he conceives of the city as an artifact. But the Stranger's successive efforts to find a method for defining the art of politics are failures, because there is no fitting model or technique of measurement by which to grasp politics that includes within its scope the totality of human existence—there is, suggests Plato, no technical construction of politics. Rosen reflects on the relevance of Plato to contemporary debates about political reconstruction on the one hand and about the deeper issue of the supposed end of modernity on the other. He argues that, far from being the father of essentialism and the reification of human nature, as others have suggested, Plato elaborates a rhetoric of politics as self-defense against nature. Just as weaving produces clothing to protect the body against the elements, so the statesman must produce myths or local models to protect the soul against the body. (shrink)
Although Hegel considered _Science of Logic_ essential to his philosophy, it has received scant commentary compared with the other three books he published in his lifetime. Here philosopher Stanley Rosen rescues the _Science of Logic_ from obscurity, arguing that its neglect is responsible for contemporary philosophy’s fracture into many different and opposed schools of thought. Through deep and careful analysis, Rosen sheds new light on the precise problems that animate Hegel’s overlooked book and their tremendous significance to philosophical conceptions of (...) logic and reason. Rosen’s overarching question is how, if at all, rationalism can overcome the split between monism and dualism. Monism—which claims a singular essence for all things—ultimately leads to nihilism, while dualism, which claims multiple, irreducible essences, leads to what Rosen calls “the endless chatter of the history of philosophy.” The _Science of Logic_, he argues, is the fundamental text to offer a new conception of rationalism that might overcome this philosophical split. Leading readers through Hegel’s book from beginning to end, Rosen’s argument culminates in a masterful chapter on the Idea in Hegel. By fully appreciating the_Science of Logic_ and situating it properly within Hegel’s oeuvre, Rosen in turn provides new tools for wrangling with the conceptual puzzles that have brought so many other philosophers to disaster. (shrink)
Combining exemplary scholarship and analytic precision, Stanley Rosen illuminates the underpinnings of post-modernist thought, providing valuable insight as he pursues two arguments: first, that post-modernism, which regards itself as an attack upon the Enlightenment, is in fact the penultimate stage of the Enlightenment itself; and second, that the extraordinary contemporary emphasis upon hermeneutics is the latest consequence of the triumph of history over mathematics within the unstable essence of the Enlightenment. Hermeneutics is consequently at bottom a political phenomenon. In developing (...) these arguments, Rosen demonstrates the paradigmatic status of Kant for a proper understanding of post-modernism, analyzes Derrida's influential critique of Platonism as well as his defense of writing, explains the political dimension of the quarrel between the ancients and moderns by studying the hermeneutics of Leo Strauss and Alexander Kojhve, and shows how the modern notion of "theory" is intrinsically relativized by the triumph of history over mathematics into the notion of interpretation. A wide-ranging exploration into current critical thinking, Hermeneutics as Politics will generate considerable debate among scholars interested in post-modernism, the Enlightenment, hermeneutics, the relation of philosophy and politics, deconstruction, and the history of philosophy. (shrink)
The first part of my hypothesis, then, is simple enough, and would be accepted in principle by most students of Plato: the dramatic structure of the dialogues is an essential part of their philosophical meaning. With respect to the poetic and mathematical aspects of philosophy, we may distinguish three general kinds of dialogue. For example, consider the Sophist and Statesman, where Socrates is virtually silent: the principal interlocutors are mathematicians and an Eleatic Stranger, a student of Parmenides, although one who (...) is not always loyal to his master's teaching of what might be called monadic homogeneity. In these dialogues, the mathematical character of philosophy is not merely emphasized but exaggerated, and any attempt to interpret them must take this fact into account. Otherwise, we shall not be able to understand why the Stranger seems to classify the general's art in the same species of the genus hunting as the louse catcher. The significance of this step, which does not stem from humanitarian considerations, but rather illustrates how the human becomes invisible from the mathematical viewpoint, contributes its share to the obscurity of these two dialogues. Second, there are dialogues like the Phaedrus and Symposium, in which the style, the interlocutors, and even the subject-matter seem to be largely poetic and rhetorical. Here, the overwhelming impression is of enthusiasm, divine madness, and intoxication in speech and deed. Finally, there are dialogues like the Philebus and Republic, in which it is not so easy to say whether poetry or mathematics predominates, if indeed either may be said to do so. (shrink)
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.
NINETEEN NINETY-NINE WAS THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY of the birth of Leo Strauss. It is a pleasure and an obligation for a former student to accept an invitation to reflect in public on the thought of that extraordinary man. I say “obligation” because Strauss, despite or perhaps because of the apparent lucidity of his best-known work, is not at all easy to understand. His friends and admirers are rightly compelled to present his teaching in its deepest and most beautiful form. Like (...) many another charismatic teacher and subtle writer, he has been praised and vilified for what are too often the wrong reasons. One wants to set the record straight. But this is as it happens not a simple task, since Strauss’s understanding of the nature of philosophy is aporetic, and there is good reason to suppose that his very formulation of this aporia is itself aporetic. (shrink)
EVERY Platonic dialogue is a tangled web. The Sophist and the Statesman, in which the paradigm of weaving plays a central role, are especially complex in structure. In this paper, I shall look at the Statesman from a variety of perspectives, following distinct but connected threads in the web, and always heading toward, or with an eye upon, the myth of the reversed cosmos. It will be necessary for me to make a considerable number of small points and observations on (...) the text. However, such a procedure may be excused, given the nature of the enterprise. And without this accumulation of detail, such general remarks as I have to offer would be deprived of substance. (shrink)
IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES, I shall examine two questions. Is there an anticipation of the understanding that constitutes the act of interpretation? If so, does that anticipatory understanding possess a structure of the sort that stands to the act of interpretation as the ontological ground is held to stand to the ontic or factual consequences of that ground? These questions together make up the problem of the hermeneutical circle.
Eric Voegelin's new study of Greek civilization, part of his continuing study of Order and History, contains elements of both such approaches to antiquity. In briefest compass, it is Voegelin's contention that order in history depends upon the recognition of the transcendental source of order; disorder is engendered by the "immanentization" of this source. Nevertheless, the transcendental source of order, the Christian God, is experienced within history, and civilizations are evaluated in terms of their anticipation of, approach to, or withdrawal (...) from this God. In terms of Christ's revelation, Greek thought is prejudged as a defective preliminary vision of historical and metaphysical truth. Just as Christ completes the Greek vision in "existential" terms, so Thomas Aquinas remedies the faults of Greek theory. In the process of being rejected or completed, classical thought takes on a remarkably Christian appearance. Despite his conservative or transcendental intentions, Voegelin's version of Christianity places great emphasis upon history as "open" to the future, and so the christianization of the Greeks produces anachronisms of the most extreme liberalism. At the same time, however, the Greek failure to transcend either the polis as a form of temporal order or an immanent conception of Being is severely criticized. (shrink)
THE IMPORTANCE OF GREEK THOUGHT for the Hegelian science of wisdom has long been acknowledged. Nevertheless, if one considers the extraordinary increase in Hegel scholarship during the past two decades, it is somewhat surprising how few technical studies have been devoted to the connection between Hegel and the Greeks. The relative lack of attention to the details of this connection is in my opinion the most important reason for a certain imbalance in favor of Hegel’s religious thought which one may (...) notice in the recent literature. This is especially true in the case of the crucial theme of self-consciousness. It is not so difficult to establish the classical antecedents of Hegel’s analyses in the domains of logic, ontology and epistemology. The case of self-consciousness is at first glance quite different. One might be tempted to say that the general problem of subjectivity is modern rather than ancient, Christian rather than pagan. Whereas Hegel’s teaching depends upon the assimilation of Aristotelian noetics, it could seem that Hegel reads Aristotle from the outset in the perspective of Christian Neo-Platonism. Does not Hegel violate the pagan teaching by importing the dimension of self-consciousness into the νόησις τῆς νοήσεως? (shrink)