On Poietic Remembering and Forgetting: Hermeneutic Recollection and Diotima’s Historico-Hermeneutic Leanings

Symposium 22 (2):107-134 (2018)
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Like human existence itself, our enduring legacies—whether poetic, ethical, political, or philosophical—continually unfold and require recurrent communal engagement and (re)enactment. In other words, an ongoing performance of significant works must occur, and this task requires the collective human activity of re-membering or gathering-together-again. In the Symposium, Diotima provides an account of human pursuits of immortality through the creation of artifacts, including laws, poems, and philosophical discourses that resonates with Gadamer’s account of our engagement with artworks and texts. This essay explores common places among Gadamer and Plato; however, it does so through the complex character of Diotima the philosopher-priestess. Diotima’s teaching on the processive character of human existence and her understanding of knowledge as dynamic has been largely ignored. Given Gadamer’s historically oriented philosophical hermeneutics, not to mention his creative and critical engagement with Platonic themes such as beauty, recollection, and art, Diotima makes for an especially fruitful dialogue partner.

Author's Profile

Cynthia R. Nielsen
University of Dallas


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