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Plato On art and poetry Republic, Book X
Plato’s questions and answers What is art? –Art is the imitation of appearance What is the value of art? –Art has a very doubtful value does not give true knowledge upsets the emotions
Origin and method Inspiration Technique (techne) –cf. the classical concept of art: Knowledge of aquiring a given end by determinate means
The nature of art Idea Copy Imitation
Example of a painting Threefold division 1.Idea of a bed (god) 2.The bed itself (craftsman) 3.Painting of the bed (painter)
What is the bed? The true bed (Idea) The crafted bed (a copy of the Idea)
How is it? Of a certain shape and size Does not change according to the point of view or the distance
A picture of the bed Does not show the bed as it is Shows the bed as it appears to the painter Is painted from one point of view Is the imitation of a copy (third place)
The Value of the painting Does not give us knowledge of the bed or of its idea Shows us an illusion Cognitive value very limited
A Second Example Knowledge / opinion Use(flute player) Making(flute-maker) Imitation(painter)
Reason/unreason Sight shows things as they appear –Things at a distance –Oar in water Reason shows things as they are
Painting and poetry Poems/plays are comparable to paintings They show us imitation of human life They are illusions like the painting
The imitation of poetry Creates an imitation but does not show truth Seeks out the irrational part of the soul Imitates it
The value of poetry Gets its materials from the passions Incites the passions Creates confusion in the soul Undermines justice in the city
Destroys honorable men Control over passions in ordinary life Outlet in poetry –Gives pleasure –Has an effect
The Outcome Enjoyment and suffering Instead of morality and reason
But: Calls for arguments to the defence of poetry Aristotle does this in the Poetics
Concepts Imitation: mimesis Technique/art: techne Picture/image: eikon
Points for discussion Nature of reality Nature of art Effect of art Pleasure
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