The Platonic Doctrine of Untruth: Heidegger’s Interpretation of Plato’s Theaetetus and the Natural Possibility of Opinion


This article examines Heidegger’s interpretation of Plato’s Theaetetus, focusing on the problematic nature of opinion (doxa). Some commentators maintain that Plato’s philosophy seeks an absolute conception of truth simply opposed to the arbitrary character of opinion, emphasizing an epistemological framework of the Platonic metaphysics. But a close reading of Heidegger’s thoughts on the Theaetetus shows that Plato’s original thinking does not attempt to simply posit a theoretical doctrine of pure knowledge contrary to opinion. For Plato, the possibility of knowing necessarily contains the ambiguous movements of opining (doxazein). Illuminating the lively disclosure of being inherent in the varying modes of opining, Heidegger’s interpretive thinking suggests an open possibility of Plato’s doctrine of untruth. In this light, I argue that a proper understanding of the Theaetetus must be based on the Platonic insight into the ambiguous power (dunamis) of opinion, which reveals the intermediate state of being between knowledge and ignorance.

Author Information
SangWon Lee, Hanyang University (Peace Institute), South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: GLOBAL2017
Stream: Political Philosophy

This paper is part of the GLOBAL2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon