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Author: Kristian Larsen

In this chapter, Kristian Larsen tackles Jacob Klein’s philosophical reinterpretation of Platonic dialectic and his diagnosis of modernity as a second Platonic “cave,” alienating us from ourselves and the world. Larsen seeks to circumscribe characteristic features of Klein’s view of the difference between ancient and modern science and philosophy by comparing his understanding of modernity with those of Martin Heidegger and Leo Strauss. The “return to ancient philosophy” associated with Klein and Strauss, Larsen argues, must be seen as critical responses to Heidegger’s “destructive” reading of Greek philosophy. Like Strauss, Klein agrees with Husserl and Heidegger that the modern conception of rationality is deeply flawed and that the twentieth century is a century of crisis revealing fundamental deficiencies in the foundations of modernity. And like Strauss and Heidegger, Klein argues that this crisis calls for a return to the Greek origins of the Western tradition. But in contrast to Heidegger, who came to see this crisis as the culmination of Western metaphysics, Klein argues that it results from a radical transformation in the way concepts are understood. This diagnosis suggests a close connection between Klein and Strauss, a connection that the chapter explores: from their perspective, ancient philosophy offers a vantage point from which we may achieve a perspective on modernity that can help us overcome central prejudices dominating modern mass societies.

In: Phenomenological Interpretations of Ancient Philosophy
Ancient philosophy has from the outset inspired phenomenological philosophers in a special way. Phenomenological Interpretations of Ancient Philosophy offers fresh perspectives on the manner in which ancient Greek thought has influenced phenomenology and traces the history of this reception. Unlike various related treatments, the present volume offers a broad account of this topic that includes chapters on Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacob Klein, Hannah Arendt, Eugen Fink, Jan Patočka, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida.

This collection of essays, edited by Kristian Larsen and Pål Rykkja Gilbert, is addressed to students of ancient philosophy and the phenomenological tradition as well as to readers who have a general interest in the fascinating, yet complex, connection between ancient Greek thought and phenomenological philosophy.

Contributions by: Jussi Backman, Pål Rykkja Gilbert, Burt Hopkins, Filip Karfík, Alexander Kozin, Kristian Larsen, Arnaud Macé, Claudio Majolino, Hans Ruin, Thomas Schwarz Wentzer, Vigdis Songe-Møller, Tanja Staehler, Morten S. Thaning and Charlotta Weigelt.
In: Phenomenological Interpretations of Ancient Philosophy


Plato’s Sophist and Statesman stand out from many other Platonic dialogues by at least two features. First, they do not raise a ti esti question about a single virtue or feature of something, but raise the questions what sophist, statesman, and philosopher are, how they differ from each other, and what worth each should be accorded. Second, a visitor from Elea, rather than Socrates, seeks to address these questions and does so by employing what is commonly referred to as the method of collection and division. Some scholars have argued that this so-called method is value neutral and therefore unable to address the question how philosophy differs from sophistry and statesmanship according to worth. This article contends that the procedures of collection and division does not preclude the visitor from taking considerations of worth into account, but rather helps establish an objective basis for settling the main questions of the dialogue.

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought