Anti-Platonism

Introduction Part 2

In the advertisement for these sessions, I set out the idea that what unites the disparate strands of contemporary European philosophy, what we call continental philosophy, is a fundamental and ultimately constitutive hostility to Plato. Continental philosophy prides itself after all on its disunity, its constitutive discontinuity, its rigorous defence of some sort of laissez-aller when it comes to the questions of philosophy: thus an all englobing sensual appearing over being or of being as appearing or of being as occluded; agency and individuation over the subject; and either and both the multitude of diversified opinions or rule governed order over truth.

Of course, this hostility in the form of its elaboration is in many cases of the most brilliant kind. Let me run through this more contemporary side of anti-Platonism, schematically, so we get a sense of the Idea of it and the diversity of what makes it up. You can see I am Platonising.

This hostility becomes radically manifest and announced, this brilliance most visible and foundational for our epoch in Nietzsche, who declares Plato a sickness for which he brings the cure and which turns out to be living Artistically – that which Plato deemed imitation and thus not the true life.

Marx, more brilliance, is an avowed materialist, part Atomist part Aristotelian, ‘metaphysically’ speaking, which of course is what materialism disavows as itself and meaning, in simplest terms, that Platonism as an Idealism functions as a metaphysics of denial. Hence, you can see why later in the Soviet dictionary of philosophy that Plato is marked the ideologue of the slave owning class.

The logical turn of the early 20th century, though not really inside what we now call continental philosophy but very continental nevertheless, targets metaphysics specifically: through the logicisation of language or the language of logic such that whatever cannot be admitted by the established rule is not and/or must not be. Hence, such things as Form or Idea are insensible by definition and contra Parmenides but in line with Aristotle in Book Gamma, cannot ground discourse, but are the guarantee of its logical and sensate impossibility. In other words, the supposed separability Plato makes between sense and intelligibility is precisely what makes meaning impossible.

Wittgenstein will famously speak of the impossibility of speaking at a point and suggest that only poetry can be trusted to speak of this unspeakability: not mathematics and definitely not philosophy which embracing problems that are not problems in the real, is essentially a systematic failure. Poetry is not admitted into the formality of a logic of course, which is where Wittgenstein goes bad for the positivists, except that they share the category of the impossible-to-say insofar as what is said must be adequate to what can be understood – or to what makes sense! And if it can’t make sense by the rule then it’s ‘poetic’ – the permissible speech of the impossible precisely because it doesn't assume any referentiality to the thing spoken of, whose truth is proved in the adequacy by which it comes to speech.

Again this refers back to Aristotle for whom Art or poetry is essentially an innocent discourse precisely because it has no claim on truth. Whereas for Plato, art was a serious rival – which if I may, has always seemed to me a show of respect for Art, for its power and makes me wonder why so many artists – poets, literary types etc. have taken the Aristotelian cum Nietzschean aesthetic kool aid – visible in romanticism and postmodernism alike – and prefer to be considered innocent of any claims on truth even while they assail the form of the polis with their affects. The price you pay for relativism – for which there is only an interminable immediacy (enough for some to be sure) is irrelevance, which is actually the final clause of Aristotle’s position on ‘art’ or the poem: that it is some transient therapy.

The fascination with language, albeit as what undoes the rule, is also crucial to the non-analytic side of continental philosophy, mostly via poetry or literature and it supports what we might call a discourse of sense – a combination ‘metaphor and materialism’ or perhaps, aesthetics and vitalism. Which is after all what Nietzsche was on about – to live artistically as what saves, as what is the vital expression of will to power. Or in Deleuze’s language, to let the simulacrum – assigned its place by Plato – arise and precisely, take place or power!

The making of this correlation is one of the fundamental projects of continental philosophy, such that philosophy is either another genre of the aesthetic and thus one among others no better or it shows itself as disingenuous and false in its commitment to its sovereign good – given no truth of the good is possible, given no ground is never not changed, changing or changeable, given every mark is already an iteration of another iteration and so on – which Deleuze, for example, who is a brilliant reader of Plato, seeks to show, in arguing, despite what is supposed of Plato, that Plato supposes a mode of selection that precedes the Idea.

Hence, the Idea is itself a representation created out of a process, which the generic creation must disavow. It’s a bit Heideggerian I reckon, this move – which is not to say it’s wrong – but when I have said this in the company of Deleuzians I have been beaten senseless, metaphorically speaking. Of course being senseless is fine by me! Anyway, one upshot of the correlation of philosophy to genre is that philosophy, like everything else, finally, so the deconstruction figures, is power pure and simple and as such is reducible to interests, to the innate force of the flux, to its own void, and, as such, can be done over and done with. Continental philosophy prides itself on cutting down the sovereign to size for the good of us all.

Psychoanalysis, one of the key orientations for continental philosophy, adds itself to the mix. First, because Freud’s psychology of the subject is seen to undermine the received wisdom of self-consciousness as subjective fullness – as essence or authenticity or absolute – and then more extensively when Lacan situates all subjectivity in language as the effect of its unconscious division, and works hard to remove from philosophy any claims to a or the knowledge of this subject.

The subject of knowledge is in effect what philosophy always overdetermines and, Lacan argues, is what always slips away from it. Thus the Hegelian idea of an absolute knowledge, which has its own Platonic heritage, is essentially the philosophers little fantasy object which he nevertheless needs in order to do what he does – its just that at the heart of this absolute is a lack – the unconscious – which he knows nothing about.

Lacan’s relation to Plato is interesting around this idea of knowledge because similarly to others who are not at all influenced by psychoanalysis, he splits off Plato from Socrates. The latter being the first analyst, the former being the first philosopher – the one supposed to know – thus not knowing as such but inhabiting the place of knowledge without being or having it – and the other, Plato as philosopher, suturing these back together, off scene as it were, such that knowledge and philosophy are One. Of course, that Plato writes the analyst into the history of thought – Socrates is the first analyst Lacan says – makes the relation between P and S all the more ripe for analysis given that surely Plato is the first split subject? At least this is what his body of knowledge, his corpus, would suggest?

Let me just note though that this split between Socrates and Plato runs across the engagements with Plato – in ordinary Platonic scholarship it causes much ink to be spilled.

Probably the most influential figure in the late 20th century Platonic scholarship is Gregory Vlastos, who is virulently committed to the distinction. Indeed, in many ways Vlastos is the premier example of an anti-Platonic Platonist. For Vlastos, the good Plato is the Plato who wrote Socratic dialogues wherein the voice of the master is clearly heard; the bad Plato, the one who ushers in a political tyranny, à la Karl Popper and, among many others in her wake, the later Hannah Arendt, is the Plato who succumbs, as Vlastos puts it, to the seductions of mathematics. At times in his discourse he seems to actually detest Plato as the corrupter of the pure Socrates, both discursively, as noted – moving from elenchus to geometry – and in terms of concepts – from everyday arguments about something called real life to the Forms and the eternal etc.: thus from debate to mathematical abstraction.

He even fingers the definitive point in the dialogues where this change-over corruption inserts itself irrevocably. He argues that it is at 81d in the Meno that the elenchus is essentially ‘abandoned in the face of the geometric paradigm’. This is the point at which the axiomatic (or prescriptive) method begins to take hold. It is the start of what he refers to as Plato’s ‘far-flung metaphysics’. Note that in the 20th Century, metaphysics appears as the enemy of almost everyone, a war prosecuted to this day. We are all Kantians now, the headline said – or more than Kantians indeed. But let’s not overlook that what is at stake in the Meno is the very question of knowledge – of how we know what we know and thus also of what is not knowledge insofar as we can speak of such a thing as a knowledge in truth.

Heidegger of course: the last metaphysician, which is to say, the over-metaphysician to misuse Nietzsche’s notion – the one who wants to end metaphysics as the end of philosophy hitherto but has to do so by metaphysics. Hence, the question of the meaning of Being – thus for him Being as such – is revivified by Heidegger and we could say reified but as what philosophy, ignorant of itself, has actively forsaken.

Philosophy, it turns out, has mistaken itself all these years – its metaphysics is not a metaphysics at all or not enough of one – and the zero-point of this forgetting is Plato with his Idea, which for Heidegger is the cover, the veil thrown over Being. The Idea is the figure of Being’s re-presentation, which is at once it’s One-ness – thus precluding the ontic-ontological difference – and then, that of its loss. Hence, for Heidegger, Plato is sort of an innocent criminal insofar as he is the scene of this crime of in-distinction by the Idea and, paradoxically, doesn’t know what he is doing in doing what he knows.

This veil of the Idea, which ushers in its replicas down through the history of philosophy – as energia, substance, monad or will to power (add others as you see fit) so Heidegger contends is, in Plato, though, actually a thing and not a word, which would suggest Plato is a materialist and idealist at once and in the Cratylus he says, ‘we philosophers begin with things and not words’ – but for Heidegger, this veil-thing of the Idea is an Idea or Form which is not a thing but the nominal means of a forgetting.

Thus for Heidegger Plato is using words as things to cover over the speaking of Being itself which Heidegger will re-unfold before us from behind or underneath Plato’s veil. He effectively etymologises and hermenutises the history of being. All the thing-words of Plato serve the Idea, which becomes in philosophy the history of the language of forgetting. Thus all the meanings that this thing-idea puts into play will be undone as false – falsified by recourse to Idea – and their proper originary or even authentic sense will have to be reconstructed, which is the work of Being as being, so to speak, where the meaning of Being is as guarantee or condition of possibility of the beings or entities it is mistaken for or conflated with.

Being is restored and it speaks and finally in Heidegger it speaks poetically – which is where man, the being of language, originally dwells. For Heidegger of course, being is monolingual – it speaks – pre-platonic Greek, which for Heidegger is what contemporary German is. In short, language is the house of being. The Platonic comeback would be to say that language is more like the prison-house of being and that we philosophers begin decidedly with things and not words and to conflate the two negatively or positively is the heart of all sophistry.

So we can say, schematically speaking, that these, are the building blocks of continental philosophy– every figure of this philosophy, every expression of it owes its possibility and its elaboration to one or an other of these orientations, let’s call them, which clearly take their bearings, positively negatively, from Plato as the site of where it all went wrong. And it is clearly the case that the wide varieties of continental philosophy, even when these varieties are antagonistic to each other, do share an antagonism to Plato – even if that antagonism differs in its specificity – which, ultimately, it might not; which is the point about language.

So, anyway – we must be rid of or at least invert Plato, they all say. At least if Plato names the history of western metaphysics as the sovereign knowledge of All, which he does, apparently, in order that we can really begin to think. Thus one would expect that they all know their Plato really well such that we all know – thanks to this Platonic education – what is wrong with Plato such that he is the problem thought, to think, must overcome.  

And this brings us to the second related aspect of this course. Alain Badiou’s argument is that this Plato who must be overcome – the sovereign, the Idealist, hostile to life and art, the forgetter of being in chief, indifferent to language, conceptual, arborescent, dialectical, mathematical and illogical – is in fact the construction of anti-Platonism itself.

Let’s be reminded of how he puts it: ‘This ‘Platonism’ is that common figure, the contemporary montage of opinion, or configuration that circulates from Heidegger to Deleuze, from Nietzsche to Bergson, but also from Marxists to positivists, and which is still used by the counterrevolutionary new philosophers (‘Plato as the first of the totalitarian master thinkers’), as well as by neo-Kantian moralists. ‘Platonism’ he continues, ‘is the great fallacious construction of modernity and post-modernity alike. It serves as a type of general negative prop: it only exists to legitimate the new under the heading of anti-Platonism.’

In other words, everyone makes the Plato they need to get going in their diverse new un-Platonic ways, such is what makes, Badiou is polemicising, for a contemporary continental philosopher. (And let me add this is even more pronounced in what is the entire edifice become cultural studies which – with their absolute fetishisation of anti-Platonic anti-philosophies – thus representations of representations – has left our times the most debilitating intellectual malaise: the combination of obsessional self-interest – the psychology of relativism qua well-being – and the impossibility of politics except that which passes as the administrative refusal to hold fast to anything bar fleeting rectifications of this and that as opinion wavers. Combined, we have what I call the neo-liberal sublime. Cultural-studies is the ideology of contemporary capitalism for which truth is either the impossible fiction that binds us to order or the fiction of a truly endless iterative, identitarian, minotorian possibility – either way, everything is permitted by the new empire of desire precisely because it alone KNOWS that nothing is ever possibly universally true. It's the carnival pleasure of giving way and giving in with the added soul supplement of it’s self justification.)

Anyway, what we get is that the picture of Plato is itself un-Platonic which is ironic because continental philosophy stakes so much, it seems, on not being Platonic precisely – of curing ourselves of the Plato sickness – and yet, so Badiou is suggesting, this Plato, which it needs to be Plato, for itself to be not-Plato and so ‘new’ – which is a contemporary fetish and an ever deferred potential  – is nothing but a projection or at least an embellishment of one aspect of Plato taken as the Whole of it.

You see the irony?

On the one hand, that Plato is a projection of each figure in some way is not at all inconsistent with continental philosophy as a sort of rigorous laissez-aller, devoted to the fragment, the minortorian, the hidden, the unsaid, the lost, the nomadic, the potential, the evental …. etc. etc. etc. etc. as noted. And yet this laissez-aller venture relies on Plato being this Sovereign figure of the status quo which everyone can mark themselves against and oppose in some fashion.

Hence, their newness is really just a case of not being old, hence the affirmation lay in this negation which is itself disavowed, which again fits with our obsessional contemporary subjectivity – innovation means nothing more than being contemporary, which in turn simply means finding ever stupider ways to not be seen to be the ‘old’ that you posit it to be. One can see why either a doctrine of the absolute flux or a doctrine of limitless potentiality would suit such a subjectivity which is never subjective insofar as it is always an agency of what it counts as nothing.

But if this Plato – this diverse and ramified Plato – is not Plato but each and every time a fragment – then upon what is the opposition based? Is it an imagined Plato, a simulacrum Plato, a linguistic Plato, a Socratic Plato, an anti-Socratic Plato, even an absolute Plato? Again, such an inconclusive Plato would be consistent with the outcome of much continental philosophy– what it wants to show as true of thought (if I can put it that way) but it is surely inconsistent with its ‘cause’, so to speak, for if Plato is himself only fragmentary, then what’s the fuss? Because to insist that he is fragmentary, i.e. that he is not the all of thought, is to assert that he says he was – or that he has come to stand for this and so this all encompassing or absolute Plato has to be found. Is he the fragment of the absolute or the absolute fragment? Am I dissembling?

But then does that mean that there is a Plato for all these diverse discourses – thus a true Plato, a singular Plato, a Plato both manifest in the dialogues and as Idea such that the dialogues are consistent in themselves and thus more than just writings and speeches and language, thus a Plato in excess of or even invariant to the Platonism – which is a pluralism – of anti-Platonism? Is continental philosophy beholden to an Idea or Ideal named Plato – different for each strand to be sure but there, nevertheless to be negated?

You see what I’m getting at? If there is no Plato to hold the place of his necessary negation then the negation is the negation of nothing – or even of the fragment itself – which would suggest that Plato is as Badiou says, the fallacious construction of an anti-Platonist modernity?

Yet if there is a Plato in excess of these determinations, this necessity, thus a Plato who is invariant as Plato in the face of all this divergence that makes up contemporary anti-Platonism, seeming the necessary cause of continental philosophy, then this surely puts into question the every causus belli of continental philosophy, that no such sovereign thought must exist which, as I noted, seems to problematise what gets it going in the first place.

To confuse it all even more let me just note that Plato is named by Plato in the Platonic dialogues twice: both times as being absent. He is named as having no presence there. To my knowledge no-one has ever noted the significance of that ‘fragment’ but me.

Ok now let me finish with my Plato. I was going to give a demonstration of this Plato but I am actually going to hold off until the end on this. Let me just finish by stating my Plato whose dis-orientation we will then develop over the coming weeks and then we can talk about it because this is what a Plato would want us to do.

My stated Plato is not the Plato of anti-Platonism nor the anti-Platonic Plato of Platonism. It’s my Plato. But my Plato is Plato – not positivised, not negated. I maintain that there is a Plato. A Plato that answers back as it were, to all these ‘Platonisms’, before they even become so. To say there is a Plato is to speak onto-logically, which is to say metaphysically but metaphysics is not, as I mentioned, a matter of definition – at least it is not if Plato is the metaphysician par excellence – or at least, after Heidegger, the metaphysician who botches metaphysics with the Idea, or for Deleuze, that other modern metaphysician, the metaphysician who must be turned upside down thus freeing the physics from the meta, letting the latter prescribe the former as itself … something like thus – I’m riffing.

My Plato is a metaphysician, yes, insofar as for him what is true of something, what is the invariant of that something must be demonstrated. This demonstration of the invariance of a thing is the task of any philosophy should it become so. Clearly the thing to be thought appears relative to the knowledge of the specific time in which it appears. Which would suggest that this thing – let’s speak of justice, the classical example – is different in its appearing every time. Or at least in its appearing it functions relative to the context of its appearing. This of course begs the question or a couple of questions. If appearing is all there is, then establishing the coherency of this notion across epochs or knowledges is a tricky task. Recourse to known knowledge is essentially tautologous – we know what justice is today because we know what justice is today. It makes it difficult to see why it would even be a thing to consider other than as a contingency relative to a clearly inherently unstable set of social relations – which is also to say, that it would only be a thought contingent upon those relations.

Essentially, Justice would always be unknown until the need for it becomes somehow apparent and this would make it sui generis each time. I think in some ways the new forms of ethics work this way: a bio-ethics, a business ethics, this ethics and that ethics – thus ethics as a contingency relative to some supposed empirical fact of the matter, and thus the impossibility of an ethics which is transversal to all contingencies or that has, then, no real effect. Thus ethics or justice exists merely to signify that the appearing of a thing is or is not in accord with what an ethics is contingent upon. Which would of course be to reduce its possibility to the play of language as it bumps up against the empirical real in some way. Ethics as adjunct to what cannot be ethically challenged as such – business, biology, technology, politics etc. It serves only to give good conscience to this un-challengeable real.

You know that in Lacan’s view there is no signified as such, just this play of signifiers, one distinguished from the other by being not another, by, if you like, ‘difference’ – or in another iteration differance. The latter being, the upsetting of the metaphysics of the same, so we have learned – again Plato being found at the scene of the crime. Now, while it is the case, I think, that these pessimisms or even cynicisms can and do offer a challenge and an opening out – that is, have at their core a real radicality, as in the ancient times (where they were not just discursive but lived out), I think they have mistaken their target and thus, unfortunately, reinforce the power of what they hope to overcome.

That conflation, to put it starkly, is between truth as knowledge and power, or between intelligibility and authority or being and thought or any form of these. This invokes, it is argued, a stratification – which we have seen comes down to philosophy as the thought truth of being as such – intelligibility over sense or perception as its master and negation – and so in possession of all knowledge over everything else.

Metaphysically speaking: the truth of being over its imitation in appearing. The political and institutional consequences or the belief in this conflation are those well rehearsed in say, Foucault, where the knowledge of what is true is wielded over all such that everyone is put in their place relative to it – for a time anyway until it is repeated in another iteration.  

This is in fact what many see as the message of the Republic. And to mention Leo Strauss and the Straussians quickly, is what they see as Plato’s real virtue – to have divorced truth and thus power or rule from the demos, the masses and thus metaphysically speaking the realm of the senses and so on. You can see the stark differential I am alluding in this Straussain take up, which I find correct to a point.

That's to say, that the political effect of the logic of sense or difference and repetition, so to speak, is to undermine the claims of authority which in this Straussain sense amounts to being a claim on the basis of alone holding the capacity of truth. That's to say, that for the Straussian, who comes to know what is true – and they idealise the means to this as platonic – this coming to know gives the legitimate authority to rule. Thus to undo this Platonism is to effectively emancipate the sensate masses from such determination – to let them rise as it were.

Politically, it looks good. But does it not rely on the equation of mass or demos to sense or desire or some such still, thus the very claims against them? What if instead the masses were capable of truth? Which would mean we need to hang on to some conception of truth and for that conception of truth to be available to all as its singular capacity. Thus draw a diagonal across this distinction – like Plato does in the Meno with the slave boy. It’s the question of knowledge etc.

Thus I would argue, that for my Plato, the conflation of truth with power, which is really to say of truth with knowledge, is wrong. Or at least the equation of truth with some form of sovereign power – a ruling over, a determining of place, an indelible prescription on what can and cannot be – is wrong. Truth is universal but the universal is, as Lacan recognises in his own fashion, the weakest point, effectively the point of castration. It’s paradoxical to be sure – what is universal or, that is to say, what is truly for all is actually the weakest part of a situation or world or what have you and this because it has no particular place and so must take place.

Marx saw this in the subjective figure of the proletariat, for example – universal class because it had no particular place or interest in the bourgeois knowledge of the capitalist world. And of course this universal is what would make the world anew and make a world in which particular interests did not rule and that the sovereign was dissolved in the universal. That is to say, the universal attaches to no sovereign figure of the place.

This is after all the place of Socrates in Athens – the Athens where he is singled out as being the only non-educator in an Athens in which all good men are said to be just that; and the Athens that kills him for not being this proper and good Athenian. Of course my Plato radicalises this not being a good Athenian educator as what is for all – thus inventing the Republic, the very place in which this nothing is everything as it were and all are Socratic-ly educated.

But it is also the case that any supposed sovereign figure of the place, like the Straussains, will invoke as its knowledge the very appearance of universality – it’s power is the power of knowledge over all. But note the distinction. It is a power over all – a power of knowledge of the all. It is knowledge in its deployment and effect and is supposed thus to be placed or unified in the figure of the sovereign.

Now to undermine this framework is the right move, but it matters how this is done. Because, as noted, it is the case that one way to oppose this sovereign power is also to confirm the conflation upon which it relies – that truth as knowledge is the basis of power. And hence the undermining of power has been coupled to the deconstruction of truth. The irony, as noted, is that one must first accept the correlation.

Funnily enough this correlation is supposed to be Platonic: thus no doubt prompting Badiou’s claims of a ‘fallacious construction’. Now, if this conflation is accepted then the only move to make is to have done with truth as such in order that any claim to sovereignty has no recourse to a metaphysical and thus inalienable or eternal or universal truth, thus making sovereignty ripe for overturning and so on. But the problem is on the other side to this overturning – what can hold the new configuration, the outcome of the overturning together as overturned. How to establish a new consistency given that any notion of unification has seemingly itself been overcome and was indeed crucial to the overcoming – all being differance, contingent, flux etc.?

This brings us back to the notion of invariance noted above. That the truth of a thing, relative in its appearing to the epoch of its appearing there, is demonstrable and this is the work of philosophy. For example, to make the truth of justice visible, its invariance, despite the contingencies of knowledge, power and so on and thus to force knowledge to be changed at the point of the universal and not by the force of its relativisation.

The thing to note is clearly that sovereignty is always a particularity posing as a universality – it is never the universal as such. The irony is that the methods of deconstruction – to generalise this term – always point out that the sovereign is not universal but particular; but as I said, this involves not then aiming at what is truly universal but chucking it out as the cause of the sovereign particularity, which is to say, giving in to particularity as such, just like the sovereign.

The metaphysics behind this is that which treats appearing as the adequation of being – so if being is conceived as what is for all then it appears as sovereign power over the all. This is the crux of the hatred of metaphysics and the turn away from ontology and thus the turn away from Being as such. This is of course a turn that Heidegger laments but his singularity is to rethink being itself and not to prescribe its fallacy. Paradoxically, and perhaps provocatively, we could suggest that this is why Heidegger’s dalliance with the Nazi’s is his most honest political move – which is not at all to moralise. But let’s leave that.

Sovereign power is basically, then, the rule or order of – not what is the rule or order of the thing – the people lets say, itself. It is not what is true for all but what is the knowledge of all – of what any all must be. This is sovereign power, sovereign knowledge. Thus the Platonic point is to overcome knowledge by way of the truth it re-presents, which is to say, falsifies at a point, this falsification being that it is the all of knowledge as such – or at least the all of that which knowledge knows can be known. And the falsification is precisely to take what is ‘for all’ – what is the immanent force of a thing, of an all, of a people etc., of what an all can do and what is demonstrable as such – and turn it into the knowledge of all – of, as I said, what it can and cannot be, what it can and cannot do of where and how it must appear and so on.  

Basically, the Platonic option is to radicalise the universal that knowledge or power claims as it’s own – to force truth out of knowledge if you like, the universal out of the particular and thus to make possible a new consistency out of the inconsistency of knowledge as such rather to make an other form of inconsistency. Or to make inconsistency the knowledge of all or all there is.

So I think the metaphysics of Plato is to demonstrate the truth of something – not define it – which would be to evoke the sovereignty of the thing against which everything that appears would be tested. This is really to say that the truth of a knowledge must be demonstrated to exist in Plato, which is to say he is definitely sure of such a thing but relative to a particular epoch, a particular configuration of knowledge, this certainty or decision, must be demonstrated such that precisely the power of this knowledge can be overcome for all. Truth is, I’m afraid to say, way more democratic than democracy itself such that it relies on the contingent majority of opinions alone. This is what the Republic demonstrates, I’d say.

Finally, then, the aim of these lectures is to see Plato appear or really dis-appear out of the diverse configuration named anti-Platonism but I think it’s necessary to mark this other trajectory I see in Plato because I think in this way many of the anti-Platonists can become Platonist which I sort of think they are anyway and indeed, as Whitehead suggests, they cannot not be. And I don't know if you have read Badiou’s book on Deleuze but he all but calls Deleuze a Platonist who only needs to finish with anti-Platonist Platonism, much to the chagrin of Deleuze’s imperious discipleship. And certainly Nietzsche and Heidegger in their own way consider themselves not only opposed to Plato but as rivals to him – after all both seek to re-found the history of thought in the thought of the present. And, I’d ask, who doesn't?