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Explores interpretations of Plato by Heidegger, Derrida, Irigaray, Cavarero, and Gadamer.
Given the conception of philosophy held by continental thinkers, and in particular their greater sensitivity to the kinship of philosophy and literature, Drew A. Hyland argues that they should be much more attentive to the literary dimension of Plato's thinking than they have been. He believes they would find in the dialogues not the various forms of "Platonism" that they wish to reject, but instead a thinking much more congenial and challenging to their own predilections.
By carefully examining the works of Heidegger, Derrida, Irigaray, and Cavarero, Hyland points to the tendency of continental thinkers to view Plato's dialogues through the lens of Platonism, thus finding Platonic metaphysics, Platonic ethics, and Platonic epistemology, while overlooking the literary dimension of the dialogues, and failing to recognize the extent to which the form undercuts anything like the Platonism they find. The striking exception, Hyland claims, is Hans-Georg Gadamer who also demonstrates the compatibility of the Platonic dialogues with the directions of continental thinking.
“[Via] the subtle interplay of critique and affirmation … Hyland works through a remarkable web of dialectical relations.” — Journal of the History of Philosophy
"This is the first work of which I know that actually attempts to look at the whole of continental philosophy from the perspective of its approach to reading Plato. Hyland's own orientation to Plato focuses on and heeds the dramatic elements in the dialogues of Plato, and he argues effectively that any attempt to interpret Plato in isolation from these elements is faulty. It is a very lucid work." Walter Brogan, coeditor of American Continental Philosophy: A Reader
"The book undertakes to show how the reduction of the Platonic texts to doctrinal Platonism pervades, for reasons that are far from accidental, even those discourses based on the practice of close textual reading and informed by hermeneutical acuity. A compelling and sorely needed work."-- Claudia Baracchi, author of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic
Drew A. Hyland is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College and the author of several books, including Finitude and Transcendence in the Platonic Dialogues, also published by SUNY Press.