Grasping the correct condition of the soul as presupposition for genuine speech (discussing)

d) The correct condition of the ψυχή  as presupposition for genuine λόγος (διαλέγεσθαι).

To summarize, λόγος [speech], in its genuine function, is founded on dialectic. But, at the same time, we see that λέγειν [to speak], if it is living speech–living in the sense that it lets others see–necessarily presupposes a readiness to see on the part of the ψυχή [soul] of those others. Yet, on the other hand, in fact most men do not possess this readiness, and διαλέγεσθαι [discussing], as Plato says explicitly in the Phaedrus, is a πραγματεία [task] (cf. 273e5), a real labor and not something befalling a person by chance. To that extent, a special task and a special kind of speaking are necessary in the first place, in order to develop this readiness to see on the part of the very one who is investigating and also on the part of the other, the one to whom something is to be communicated. Therefore everything depends on this, that the ψυχή, the inner comportment, the Being of the existence of man, lies in the correct condition with regard to the world and to itself, i.e., in the correct συμμετρία, in an adequacy to the things themselves which are to be grasped in their uncoveredness. Socrates summarizes this once more at the end of the Phaedrus, now specifically not in a theoretical explication but in an invocation of the gods. ”O dear Pan and all ye gods here”-Socrates is outdoors with Phaedrus, beyond the city-“grant it to me to become beautiful” (καλός is nothing else than the opposite of αἰσχρός, ugliness, and signifies συμμετρία versus άμετρία, the proper adequacy versus inadequacy) “ grant it to me to become beautiful, to come into the correct condition in relation to what is in myself, what comes from the inside, and grant that whatever I possess extrinsically may be a friend to what is inner, and grant that l repute as rich the one who is wise, i.e., the one who is concerned with the disclosure of things, the disclosure of beings, and grant that to me the amount of gold, the quantity of treasure, I possess in this world will have for me as much value, and that I will claim for it only as much value, as a man of understanding should claim.”(279b8-c3).  That is, he beseeches here specifically for this correct condition with regard to the things themselves, and at the same time also for the correct bounds. Thus nothing in excess, for that could again turn into ignorance and barbarism…

Heidegger (Plato’s Sophist, p.240-241)


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