Gregory Fried is professor of philosophy at Boston College. He is the author of Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics. With Richard Polt, he has translated Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics and Being and Truth as well as edited A Companion to Heidegger’s “Introduction to Metaphysics” and Nature, History, State: 1933–1934. He is cofounder and director of the Mirror of Race Project (mirrorofrace.bc.edu). With his father, Charles Fried, he is author of Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy, and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror.
Abbreviations and Translations
Preface: Address to the Reader
Introduction: Towards a Polemical Ethics
Chapter 1. Between Earth and Sky: The Polemics of Finitude and Transcendence
Chapter 2. Back to the Cave: From Heidegger to Plato
Chapter 3. Seeing Sun and Shadow: The Metaphorics of Vision in the Cave
Chapter 4. Breaking Down in the Cave
Chapter 5. Ideation and Reconstruction: Healing from the Bonds of the Cave
Chapter 6. The Compulsion of the Body
Chapter 7. At the Crossroads of the Cave
Chapter 8. Retrieving Phronēsis: Antigone at the Heart of Ethics
Chapter 9. Conclusion: Towards Enacting a Polemical Ethics
Fried addresses his and our own historical situatedness, in the 21st century, at certain moments in the book—for example, when alluding to the resurgent problem of fascism in our times, or to the Black Lives Matter movement and social unrest after the killing of George Floyd. In these ways the book brings together philosophical work on the meta-ethical significance of historical situatedness while remaining attuned to its own historical moment—an admirable achievement, and one worth looking to as a model for philosophical writing.
In Towards a Polemical Ethics: Between Heidegger and Plato, Gregory Fried accomplishes exactly what the title declares: he prepares us for the development of what, in his revised sense of the term, will be a polemical ethics by developing a space between Plato and Heidegger that is at once well-founded and richly speculative. At the same time, the book engages the reader in a similarly rich and friendlypolemos.
Gregory Fried's Toward a Polemical Ethics is an original piece of writing marked by two distinctive abilities. It shows the scholarly depth of a specialist attuned to the writings of Plato and Heidegger, but it also reflects the creative talents of a philosopher who directs his energies at grappling with problems that define our contemporary situation. This is a book that will require all of us to rethink our traditional understanding of Heidegger's writings on Plato.