Read e-book online Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present PDF

By Monroe C. Beardsley

ISBN-10: 0817389768

ISBN-13: 9780817389765

“Beardsley’s ebook accomplishes to perfection what the author meant. It illuminates a space of background from a undeniable point of view as was once by no means performed prior to. . . . The distinguishing function of his e-book is a n pleasure over every thing I aesthetics that has to do with symbols, meanings, language, and modes of interpretation. And this pleasure has delivered to mild aspects of the background f the topic by no means spotted sooner than, or at the very least, no longer so clearly.”

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The representation of calm, wise, selfcontrolled people does not make for very exciting drama, yet the hates and fears, the jealous rages and pitiful sorrows of a Medea, for example, appeal, not to the highest part of the soul, but to an inferior one. Such a play "stimulates and strengthens an element which threatens to undermine the reason" (Republic 605b; trans. Cornford). There is thus an important effect upon character to be considered, Plato thinks: the tendency to make people more emotional, less self-controlled-whether they are giving way to tears or to immoderate laughter.

Not much, if anything, needs to be said by way of justification for making shoes and building shelters-though the architects of the Republic may at times be tempted into providing too many luxuries for their citizens. But drama, and music, and the adornments of buildings-these are extremely puzzling in many ways to Plato, for it is by no means plain why they should exist at all. Certain things can be said about all the productive crafts. By means of them, something new emerges; to make it, material media must be manipulated in some way, assembled or transformed; there must be a relevant skill, or set of skills; and there must be a kind of knowledge-the musician, for example, is one who has "the art of recognizing the sounds that can or cannot be blended" (SOPhist 253b; trans.

The poet must submit his works to censors and obtain their approval (Laws 80Id). Moreover, once the proper rules are worked out, there is to be no innovation, on pain of severe punishment (Republic 423-24, Laws 798-99). Few of Plato's many ideas, I suppose, have been so strongly attacked and so shamefacedly defended as these proposals for authoritarian governmental control over the artistic products, and through them the very thoughts, of the citizens. "And were I a legislator," says the Athenian Stranger (Laws 662bc; trans.

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Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present by Monroe C. Beardsley

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