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Metaphysics as Rhetoric: Alfarabi's Summary of Plato's Laws

Joshua Parens

Paperback, 196 pages

9780791425749

 

The most widely accepted view in the West today, particularly among postmodernists, is that Plato attempted to ground politics on a rational metaphysics and initiated the tradition of foundationalism that has given rise to systems of oppression ranging from racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism to the technological mastery of the earth. Metaphysics as Rhetoric controverts this view, arguing that Plato was not the originator of this metaphysical tradition. Using as a basis the tenth-century Muslim philosopher Alfarabi's interpretation of Plato, especially his Summary of Plato's "Laws", Parens shows that what appears to be Plato's metaphysics was intended as a rhetorical defense of his politics. Parens demonstrates that rather than seek to establish politics on the definitive metaphysical ground, Alfarabi's Plato analyzes politics on its own terms, phenomenologically.

 

Contents

 

Part I. Metaphysics as Rhetorical Foundation of Law

 

Part II. The Divergence Between Law and Intellect

 

Part III. Shame, Indignation, and Inquiry