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Mauro Bonazzi on "Towards Nazism: on the Invention of Plato’s Political Philosophy"

Mauro Bonazzi on "Towards Nazism: on the Invention of Plato’s Political Philosophy"

Albert and Vera List Academic Center
General Public 

Like in Raphael’s School of Athens, Plato has been celebrated for centuries as the champion of the contemplative life. Such a description of Plato will be probably striking for most of the contemporary readers of the dialogues, used to a very different Plato, at least from Popper onwards.

For many, nowadays, Plato is first of all a political philosopher. The contrast couldn’t be sharper. The goal of the paper is to reconstruct the origins of the political interpretation: endorsed by the Nazis, made famous by Popper, it was first developed by some important Hellenists in Germany (such as Wilamowitz and Jaeger), in the first thirty years of the 20th century and quickly became dominant also outside the universities – the most interesting example being the so-called George Kreis, and most notably K. Hildebrandt’s attempt to harmonise Plato and Nietzsche. What happens when you reconcile Plato and Nietzsche? For sure this is not a marginal story, for philosophers and not only for them.

Presented by the Philosophy Department at The New School for Social Research

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