Image by unknown photographer. Plato BC has had an enormous influence on Western philosophy. In his great work, The Republic, Plato describes his idea of the ideal state, which would be organised into the Guardians, ie. Through these classes, the state would control the masses.
Some questions naturally spring from this broad theory of art, for example: How is it being imitated, is the imitation a straight copy, a distortion or an improvement in some way?
Both Plato and Aristotle, the foremost philosophers of their time, arrived at widely different answers to the questions above. Their differing views on mimesis, as outlined principally in The Republic and The Poetics, were thus partly a consequence of their differences in their ontological and epistemological views of the world.
There are other factors, too, which complicate the matter. Many stories, Plato is saying, are not imitations of any reality but are outright falsities, on the grounds that since gods and heroes are by definition better than men, they cannot perform such atrocious acts as shown for example in Homer and Aeschylus the examples in Republic Such portrayals provide justification for men to commit such acts themselves, and therefore these misrepresentations of gods and heroes are harmful to a general populace.
Such poetry, then, is lies and may be an imitation, but it is not an imitation of any truth and therefore must be condemned. Imitation proper appears in the Republic in Book III, where Plato begins to consider the more complicated case of poetry concerning men. Here Plato shows a preference for straight narrative, in that by simply narrating events the poet may avoid entirely the explicit imitation of those characters he is speaking of, and the actors, too, can avoid placing themselves in a situation where they would imitate the evil acts of evil characters as they would perhaps not normally do.
When, however, imitation is used as a form of diction, Plato comes to the conclusion that any such imitation which mimics men who are not of upright and intelligent nature is undesirable in the ideal city.
Plato therefore seems to cover the case of his own dialogues, where he speaks through the mouths of Socrates, Adeimantus and Glaucon. Furthermore, where that imitated character has undesirable traits, the imitation is to be avoided.
And later, in Book X, Plato claims that most poetry of necessity contains evil men in order to produce interest and pleasureand this too forms a basis for a wide-ranging condemnation of poetry.
Plato then begins a detailed discussion explaining imitation from first principles — its mechanism and its relation to truth. The argument is based largely on the theory of Forms and certain relations between the art of poetry and painting.
All imitation, Plato argues, has little connection with truth; poets work in a similar way to a painter, who imitates the appearance of a bed which in turn is made by a craftsman from an idea in nature and therefore the work of God.
Furthermore, the imitator, being so far removed from the truth, can have little knowledge of what he imitates so can thus have little conception of the inherent goodness or badness of his work. Rather it is their function to deceive: His conceptualisation of both the political state and the individual soul separates reason and will operations of the mind from pleasure and the passions occupations of the senses.
In the doctrine of the Line the similar attributes of knowledge vs. Since poetry appeals to the more illusory sense perception, it is placed lower in the scale; it cannot therefore have any access to the Forms, the highest reality possible.
As with painting, so with poetry, says Plato; he does not treat poetry on its own terms. Certainly these arts use very different methods and it is difficult to conceive their functions as identical as Plato makes out.Plato and Aristotle on Art as Imitation (Mimesis) Plato, Republic.
Art is imitation, and that’s bad.
Problems with imitation: · Epistemological: An imitation is at three removes from the reality or truth of something (example of bed). · Theological: Poets and other artists represent the gods in inappropriate ways. Jan 09, · Essay: Art as Imitation in Plato and Aristotle Posted on January 9, by literaryfruit Ancient Greek thought held that poetry, drama, and other forms of fine art were imitations of reality, a reality that could be actual or potential.
Art is defined by Aristotle as the realization in external form of a true idea, and is traced back to that natural love of imitation which characterizes humans, and to the pleasure which we feel in recognizing likenesses. Plato’s main argument, that art can only be a reflection that resembles the good, and an illusion in respect of evil, is one that, for most modern readers, would represent a false reality in a world artistically represented as containing both good and evil.
“Explain the differences between Plato and Aristotle’s view of reality”. Plato imagined that there existed an ideal or perfect world beyond our own physical earth.
Aristotle attacks Plato's theory of the forms on three different grounds. First, Aristotle argues, forms are powerless to explain changes of things and a thing's ultimate extinction.
Forms are not causes of movement and alteration in the physical objects of sensation.