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Plato and the Invention of Life$
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Michael Naas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279678

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279678.001.0001

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Conclusion: Life on the Line

Conclusion: Life on the Line

(p.185) Conclusion: Life on the Line
Plato and the Invention of Life

Michael Naas

Fordham University Press

The conclusion argues that there is in Plato, in addition to the undeniable tendency shown in the previous chapter to think life in terms of life itself, that is, in terms of a Platonic form of life, another countervailing tendency, a less “Platonic” conception of life that is operating always in the margins of Plato’s dialogues, a notion of life that needs to be thought along the lines of what Jacques Derrida began calling in an as-yet-unpublished seminar of 1974–75 life death. The chapter suggests that what a Derridean reading of the Statesman and other dialogues on the question of life reveals is the necessity of thinking life otherwise, that is, life neither as bare, biological life, nor as real, spiritual life, as life itself, but as life death, that is, as a life that must always be woven together with and thought always in relation to death. Life death, it is claimed, is what the philosophical and religious tradition of the West has had to forget or repress in order for something like life itself to emerge, that is, a life completely detached from any life that is actually lived.

Keywords:   bare life, Jacques Derrida, life, life death, Plato, Platonism

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