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Hans Jonas and His Use of Plato’s Theaetetus

newdigital Hans Jonas and His Use of Plato’s Theaetetus
section Online First
title Hans Jonas and His Use of Plato’s Theaetetus
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 02-2021
doi 10.26350/001050_000236
issn 00356247 (print) | 18277926 (digital)
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It can safely be argued that Plato plays a crucial, if not unique role for Hans Jonas. When pondering whether to assign the palm to Kant or to Plato in his Erinnerungen, Jonas himself admits: «With Plato [...] you have to go back a much greater distance to make him applicable to the present. But of course Plato is the greater one, the one we have to study again and again from scratch, the one we must discover, whereas we can get to know Kant thoroughly. With Plato, you’re never finished, that’s the great foundation [Grundlegung] for all of Western philosophy» (H. Jonas, Memoirs, Engl. transl. by K. Winston, ed. and annot. by C. Wiese, Brandeis University Press, Waltham [Ma] 2008, p. 263, fn. 12). Against such strong background special attention will be devoted to those passages where Jonas goes back to Plato’s Theaetetus for examining potentialities and limits of genuine knowledge, as well as the erotic aspiration of what is temporary to assimilate itself to the divine and hence to revert to the dimension of eternity.


Plato, Hans Jonas, Theory of Knowledge, Metaphysics, Assimilation to God

Author biography

Sapienza Università di Roma. Email: