By Malcolm Heath
What's poetry? Why do people produce and devour it? What results does it have on them? Can it supply them perception into fact, or is it dangerously deceptive? This booklet is a wide-ranging research of the very assorted solutions which old philosophers gave to such questions. a longer dialogue of Plato's Republic exhibits how the 2 discussions of poetry are built-in with one another and with the dialogue's significant subject matters. Aristotle's Poetics is learn within the context of his knowing of poetry as a ordinary human behaviour and an intrinsically precious section of a superb human existence. chapters hint the advance of the later Platonist culture from Plutarch to Plotinus, Longinus and Porphyry, exploring its highbrow money owed to Epicurean, allegorical and Stoic ways to poetry. it will likely be crucial studying for classicists in addition to old philosophers and glossy philosophers of paintings and aesthetics.
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Additional resources for Ancient Philosophical Poetics (Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy)
If the friends of poetry succeed in showing that this kind of poetry is beneficial to the city, as well as enjoyable, we will have gained. But, thirdly (607e–8b), in the absence of a successful defence, we must act like a disillusioned lover who forces himself to break off a relationship that he knows is bad for him. We still feel attracted to this kind of poetry, and would be delighted to discover that it is after all acceptable: but we must keep reminding ourselves of why we cannot take it seriously and why we must treat it with caution.
In this first part of the discussion, therefore, Socrates has looked at the content of poetry: stories about gods and heroes must be purged of anything that would set a bad example to the citizens of his city. Socrates is confident that this means purging the stories of falsehoods, but that is not his immediate concern. Rather, he is concerned with the stories’ moral effects. Falsehoods that are beneficial are allowed (provided that suitably qualified people are in charge of deciding which ones they are); truths that might have a bad effect should be suppressed.
The models in the Cave are things in the world as we experience it: as we said earlier, visible things may themselves be images of an intelligible reality. What are the shadows on the Cave wall? Think of my ideas about plants, so vague, ill-informed and wildly inaccurate that it is as if I had only ever seen shadows or reflections or pictures of plants. Socrates introduces the Cave as an image of ‘our nature’, and applies it to human beings in general (514a). It seems absurd to say that my ignorance of plants is typical of the human condition.
Ancient Philosophical Poetics (Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy) by Malcolm Heath