Volume 23, Issue 1, Fall 2018
The Resistant Interlocutor
Plato, Heidegger, and the End of Dialogue
Dialogue, as a philosophical form, enables the exploration of the conditions, limits, and consequences of understanding arguments. Two philosophers who undertook to write dialogues—Plato and Heidegger—feature moments in philosophical conversation in which understanding, on its own, fails to convince an interlocutor of an argument. In this article, I examine the philosophical stakes of the collisions which unfold in Plato’s Gorgias, between Socrates and Callicles, and in Heidegger’s “Triadic Conversation,” between the Guide and the Scientist. Plato’s Socrates is ostensibly unsuccessful in persuading Callicles to adopt his position while Heidegger’s Guide is able to support the Scientist in learning a new way of thinking. I argue that it is Heidegger’s attention to feeling as a philosophically significant phenomenon which can overcome trans-rational resistance which may persist even after truth has been determined.