Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 19, Issue 1, Fall 2014

Véronique M. Fóti
Pages 49-64

Revisiting Greek Tragedy in Dialogue with Jacques Taminiaux

In Le théatre des philosophes, Taminiaux suggests that both German Idealism and Heidegger understand Greek tragedy as ontological in its import. So does Plato who, however, censures it for the inadequacy of its ontological vision, which he seeks to correct by means of the aesthetic education of the guardians of the ideal city. Taminiaux stresses that Aristotle understands tragedy as a mimēsis of action which is pluralistic, willing to engage with appearances, and oriented toward phronēsis. A key question concerns his understanding of the katharsis or purification of powerful passions, treated here as a cognitive clarification requiring the intense passional engagement that Plato censors. In response to Taminiaux’s claim that Hölderlin’s tragic inspiration is Aristotelian, this essay explores his understanding of tragic purification. In separating the hybristic union of god and man, such purification restores the possibility of interlocutory praxis.