Colloquium Geschiedenis van de Filosofie, Universiteit Utrecht
“The Nazi philosopher”
On the invention of Plato’s political philosophy
Prof. dr. Mauro Bonazzi
University of Utrecht
All are welcome!
Date: Thursday, June 20th, 15:00-17:00 uur
Location: Stijlkamer (0.06),Janskerkhof 13,Utrecht
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 probably be striking for most of the contemporary readers of the dialogues, used to a very different Plato, at least from Popper onwards. For many of us, Plato is first of all a political philosopher. The contrast couldn’t be sharper. Goal of my talk is to reconstruct the origins of the political interpretation: 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): it is not by chance that Plato eventually became the most popular philosopher among the Nazi ideologues from K. Hildebrandt onwards. What are the grounds which support such an interpretation? Is this a reliable reading? And what are its philosophical and cultural consequences? These are some of the issues I will try to tackle.
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