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Plato's Meditation


interpretation of later times. The unity of melete and techne thus characterizes the basic posture of the forward-reaching disclosure of Dasein, which seeks to ground beings on their own terms.

Finally, if by "art" we mean what is brought forward in a process of bringing-forth, what is produced in production, and the producing itself, then the Greek speaks of poiein and poiesis. That the word poiesis in the emphatic sense comes to be reserved for designation of the production of something in words, that poiesis as "poesy" becomes the special name for the art of the word, poetic creation, testifies to the primacy of such art within Greek art as a whole. Therefore it is not accidental that when Plato brings to speech and to decision the relationship of art and truth he deals primarily and predominantly with poetic creation. and the poet.

Turning to the second question, we must now consider where and in what context Plato poses the question concerning the relationship of art and truth. For the way he poses and pursues that question determines the form of the interpretation for the whole of Plato's multifaceted meditation on art. Plato poses the question in the "dialogue" which bears the title Politeia [Republic], his magnificent discussion on the "state" as the basic form of man's communal life. Consequently, it has been supposed that Plato asks about art in a "political" fashion, and that such a "political" formulation would have to be opposed to, or distinguished essentially from, the "aesthetic" and thereby in the broadest sense "theoretical" point of view. We can call Plato's inquiry into art political to the extent that it arises in connection with politeia; but we have to know, and then say, what "political" is supposed to mean. If we are to grasp Plato's teaching concerning art as "political," we should understand that word solely in accordance with the concept of the essence of the polis that emerges from ~he dialogue itself. That is all the more necessary as this tremendous dialogue in its entire structure and movement aims to show that the sustaining ground and determining essense of all political Being consists in nothing less than the "theoretical," that is, in essential knowledge of dike and dikaiosyne. This Greek word is translated as "justice," but that misses the proper sense, inasmuch as justice is transposed