By Malcolm Heath
What's poetry? Why do people produce and eat it? What results does it have on them? Can it supply them perception into fact, or is it dangerously deceptive? This e-book is a wide-ranging examine of the very different solutions which historic philosophers gave to such questions. a longer dialogue of Plato's Republic indicates how the 2 discussions of poetry are built-in with one another and with the dialogue's valuable subject matters. Aristotle's Poetics is learn within the context of his figuring out of poetry as a normal human behaviour and an intrinsically precious component to a very good human lifestyles. chapters hint the improvement of the later Platonist culture from Plutarch to Plotinus, Longinus and Porphyry, exploring its highbrow bills to Epicurean, allegorical and Stoic techniques to poetry. it is going to be crucial analyzing for classicists in addition to old philosophers and smooth philosophers of artwork and aesthetics.
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Extra resources for Ancient Philosophical Poetics (Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy)
Will a poet show the man taking the loss calmly, or expressing his grief in an intensely emotional way? Obviously, the latter (604d–e). There is more to imitate, because there is more variety in the man’s behaviour. The behaviour of the man who reacts in a calm, rational way is stable, uniform, and dull to watch. ’). Socrates’ unexpectedly indirect route has thus circled back to the audience. 21 So (Point 6) to be successful with a large audience that does not have its appetites and emotions under rational control, imitative poetry must portray people behaving in ways that are not under rational control.
But do they know what beauty really is? Beauty manifests itself in many different ways. Helen of Troy is beautiful, but so was Penelope. What makes them both beautiful, despite their different looks? Perhaps Helen was a beautiful baby: but the beauty of a beautiful baby is not the same as that of a beautiful woman; both beauties are different from the beauty of beautiful music. Moreover, beauty manifests itself imperfectly. g. 8, 549c–550b, 553b–d, 558c–60c; 9, 571a–3b). 15 I borrow Waterfield’s felicitous rendering of philotheamones, ‘lovers of looking’.
These are, first, that human beings are psychologically complex, and potentially conflicted: they are subject to different kinds of motivation which, without careful education, will be directed to inappropriate goals and will be at odds with each other. Secondly, there is a distinction between the world as it is experienced through the senses, and the underlying reality which is accessible only to understanding. Thirdly, the majority of people, failing to grasp that distinction, inhabit an illusory world: their moral opinions are confused and misleading; they are ignorant even of their own ignorance.