Ancient Philosophical Poetics (Key Themes in Ancient by Malcolm Heath

By Malcolm Heath

What's poetry? Why do humans produce and eat it? What results does it have on them? Can it supply them perception into fact, or is it dangerously deceptive? This publication is a wide-ranging examine of the very assorted 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 imperative issues. Aristotle's Poetics is learn within the context of his realizing of poetry as a average human behaviour and an intrinsically necessary part of a very good human existence. 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 ways to poetry. will probably be crucial examining for classicists in addition to historical philosophers and sleek philosophers of paintings and aesthetics.

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Homer uses simple narrative to report Chryses’ arrival at the Greek camp, but switches to narrative through imitation when he gives us Chryses’ speech. By changing direct to indirect speech Socrates recasts the passage as simple narrative. If the passages in which the poet tells the story in his own voice are removed, so that only the direct speech of characters remains (as in drama), this is narrative through imitation alone. Socrates then poses a question (Question 1): which of these modes should poets be allowed to use?

In other words, the world is the way it is because it is good that it is that way. That principle cannot, admittedly, be applied to all the messy details of the world of our experience. The point is that the fundamental structures of reality are the way they are because it is good that they are so. 16 The second image, the ‘divided line’ (6, 509d–511e), develops further the contrast between the visible world and the intelligible world, and the possibility of cognitive ascent from one to the other.

Later, Socrates will make concrete suggestions about the course of studies that trainee philosophers must undergo. But before we can appreciate what this will involve, we must undergo a profound reorientation. We must stop thinking like sightseers, whose horizons are bounded by the world as we experience it. To help his companions towards this, Socrates produces a series of images designed to give some imaginative purchase on what is involved in understanding beauty itself, justice itself, and so on.

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