Thinking about philosophy and drama today
Discussions of philosophy's relation to the theatre and the dramatic arts in recent decades routinely invoke what Socrates in the tenth book of Plato's Republic called the "ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy."1 This interest in Plato's critique of tragic poets — which tends to take a dim view of Socrates' expulsion of Homer and the tragedians from the polity — can be traced to the powerful influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's general critique of Platonism, metaphysics and Christian morality, as well as to the influence exerted by Martin Heidegger's lectures on Nietzsche over subsequent French and German philosophy (structuralism, post-structuralism, hermeneutics, and other anti-foundationalisms).2 The long shadow cast by Nietzsche's anti-Platonism — and by the critique of metaphysics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophy, with which he and Heidegger are perhaps the most strongly identified figures3 — has, to a striking degree, determined discussions of the pairing "drama and philosophy" as a reflection of Nietzsche's struggle against Platonism.4 It is as if the task today is understood either to be "overcoming" the metaphysical assumptions that underpin Plato's expulsion of the tragic poets through new defences of dramatic-theatrical practices and tropes;5 or else to be "deconstructing" the (Platonic) terms of the quarrel in a way that might somehow reconcile the (alleged) Platonic and Nietzschean positions.6
Kottman, (2014)., Thinking about philosophy and drama today: three proposals, in L. Cull & A. Lagaay (eds.), Encounters in performance philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 261-277.
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