Platonic Production: Theme and Variations

“Platonic Production” presents Prof. Stanley Rosen’s Etienne Gilson Lectures, delivered at the Institut Catholique de Paris and now available in English for first time. His lectures draw Heidegger and Plato into a conversation around a basic philosophical question: Does the acquisition of truth resemble discovery or production?

While Rosen undertakes a close examination of Heidegger’s engagement with Plato, exposing some ways in which that engagement constitutes a misreading, the goals of his study are not exclusively critical. In arguing against the claim that Plato stands at the beginning of Western metaphysical history which culminates in late modern nihilism, Rosen also points out how close Plato is to some characteristically Heideggerean themes and formulations. Heidegger is critiqued from the standpoint of Plato, but it is equally true that Platonic themes (such as the Forms) are read anew in light of the questions raised by Heidegger. In keeping with the overarching theme of the Gilson Lectures, Rosen’s six talks, and the introduction by the volume’s editor, Andy German, aim to demonstrate that metaphysics is always possible, indeed inescapable, by meditating on the two philosophers whose thinking – especially where it diverged – always centered on that very point.