Midterm Review, Plato, and Aristotle
- PLATO “THE REPUBLIC” 427-387 BCE
- things are always in flux
- socrates dialogues
- censor the arts, artists lie to us
- ARISTOTLE “POETICS” 382-322 BCE
- est. philosophical system (ethics, politics, physics)
- rules of tragedy (plot is more important than character)
- mimesis (representation) is natural to us because that’s how we learn
- gave definitions for terms involving the arts
- HORACE “ARS POETICA” 65-8 BC
- gives practical writing advice for how to be a successful writer/audience pleaser
- make writing pleasing and realistic (fiction shouldn’t be too out there)
- LONGINUS “ON SUBLIMITY” 1st century
- sublimity is about elevation not extension (vertical vs. horizontal)
- expressive theory of lit. over mimetic (reality shaped by artist vs. art represents reality)
- you have to overlook the faults in geniuses because their mistakes don’t compare to
- PHILIP SIDNEY “A DEFENSE OF POESIE” 1554-1586
- Defends dignity of poet, answers objections against poetry and examines state of
- poetry should “teach and delight”
- history can only look at what happened, philosophy on what could happen: poetry can
do both. history doesn’t teach morals, philosophy is too abstract.
- art is our reality. everything that we do in art is some representation of reality, except
poets can enhance reality or bring other forms to life.
- JOESPH ADDISON “THE SPECTATOR No. 412” 1672-1719
- talks about pleasures of imagination. Associated more with sublime rather than beauty.
- DAVID HUME “ON THE STANDARD OF TASTE” 1711-1776
- his thesis is that it is natural for us to seek a standard of taste: a rule by which various
sentiments (feeling) can be reconciled.
- people can have opinions, but they can’t be all that makes you have an opinion of
something. the opinions have nothing to do with the actual beauty of the thing.
- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. it is in us that it exists and is felt.
- different humours and different cultures affect the standard of taste
Plato “The Republic”
427 - 327 BCE
- The Republic is written by Plato but involves Socrates having a number of dialogues.
- Plato was a wealthy aristocrat who was expected to go into politics. But he didn’t, instead he
devoted his life to study and founding school.
- Among the first schools ever. - Socrates is a real person who had his own personality and philosophy, but we only know him
through Plato’s writing of him.
- “Ti esti?” Greek for “What is it?” Socrates asks this question many times throughout the
- Example: What is virtue? Not examples of types of virtues, but what is the nature of
- Hints that there must be some universal form that substantiates the particulars.
- Rarely an answer to these “what is it” questions. Socrates is fine with this because he
just wants to have the dialogue, get the thought into people’s minds. As long as you’re
moving forward towards an answer.
- Socrates comes influenced by Cratylus which is why he is so obsessed with “ti esti?”. Cratylus is
a follower of Heraclitus who famously said “all things float” meaning that things are always
changing, things are always in flux.
- Plato attempts to deal with this problem of flux through Socrates. He thinks that there must be
something that is stable which allows everything else to be in flux. “If there’s no end to