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Das Staunen als Anfang der Philosophie

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Wonder (thaumazein) is the beginning of philosophy. This well-known formula can be grasped for the first time in Plato's Theaetetus (155d). The standard interpretation of this passage takes wonder as a positively connoted, transitive starting point of the epistemic process insofar as wonder stimulates the will to investigate. The present article challenges this view by presenting an aspect of Theaetetus 155d that has been overlooked ever since. Via a reconstruction of the dialogue's context, broader philological arguments and an implementation into Plato's systematic approach, the article aims to show that the Platonic conception of thaumazein is to be understood first of all as a result of sophistry: Wonder isn't a transitive starting point but a hermetic perplexity that remains gazing at the sophist in admiration (thaumazein) and that has to be overcome. Thus, wonder is also the beginning of philosophy because it is the result of sophistry and (Platonic) philosophy arises from opposition to the latter.
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Language: German

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • The journal Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, appearing since 1946, is among the most important academic German language journals. It is open to all topics, approaches, and positions of philosophical thought. Given the increasing differentiation and specialization of the field, it thus constitutes a forum offering its various disciplines the opportunity for mutual recognition and exchange. The articles published in it are subject to an anonymous peer review in which internationally renowned scholars of all areas of contemporary philosophical research participate.

    Die seit 1946 erscheinende Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung gehört zu den wichtigsten deutschsprachigen Fachzeitschriften und steht allen Themen, Richtungen und Positionen der philosophischen Forschung offen. Angesichts der zunehmenden Ausdifferenzierung und Spezialisierung des Faches bietet sie damit auch ein Forum, in dem die verschiedenen Teildisziplinen sich gegenseitig wahrnehmen und in ein gemeinsames Gespräch kommen können. Die in ihr publizierten Abhandlungen durchlaufen ein anonymes Begutachtungsverfahren, an dem international anerkannte Forscher aus allen Spezialgebieten der gegenwärtigen philosophischen Forschung beteiligt sind.
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