The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry Revisited: Plato and the Greek Literary Tradition

The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry Revisited: Plato and the Greek Literary Tradition

Susan B. Levin

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0195136063

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this study, Levin explores Plato's engagement with the Greek literary tradition in his treatment of key linguistic issues. This investigation, conjoined with a new interpretation of the Republic's familiar critique of poets, supports the view that Plato's work represents a valuable precedent for contemporary reflections on ways in which philosophy might benefit from appeals to literature.
















mimesis by observing that "mimetic activity is capable of producing everything because it has only slight contact with each thing, and what it has access to is a mere simulacrum" (5g8b).84 Moreover, while the Cave presents shadows and those entities whose shadows they are as being accessible at distinct stages of cognitive activity (jijc-d), in Book 10 Plato stresses their contemporaneous presence by having Socrates clarify that "I am speaking, not about anything difficult, but rather about a

ofTmchis, in turn, the nurse tells how Deianira prepared to kill herself by uncovering "her whole side and her left arm" (Tt^etipdv craaoav (oXevrrv T' e\)c6vu|J,ov, 926). Herodotus uses euonumos with kerns on several occasions when speaking of the left wing of an army (see 6.111.1,9.28.6,9.46.3,9.47); this euphemistic employment of euonumos is not surprising given the belief, mentioned above, that a position on the right wing was viewed as more favorable. A shift in onoma for apotropaic purposes

each case whether the aforementioned correlation obtains. Plato supplies here the expected cognitive underpinning for an activity of this caliber, vigorously denying any connection with mere belief (doxa). At this early juncture, Socrates concludes that if these and related contentions about the elevated status of the activity were well founded, it would hold an impressive rank indeed, qualifying as a techne in the narrow sense of that term. In what follows, however, Plato dismantles every one of

by that "model" alleged by some to be developed in the Cratylus. Exploration of Plato's view in the Sophist and Politicus would take one well beyond the scope of the current project. For brief remarks on his handling of appropriateness therein, see Levin 1995, m-r3. 4 CONCEPTIONS OF APPROPRIATENESS Plato's Revision of Literary Usage in the Phaedo and Republic 5 i. Pouring New Wine into Old Skins: Reflections on Literary and Platonic Eponymy 1.1. Introduction While the Cratylus targets what

maintain a certain imitative relationship with the Forms, a relationship that is strained or ruptured when one fails to do one's fair share in a just community." 38. On the philosopher's role as overseer, cf. Kato 1986, 23, 47, 76. In the view of Sprague (1976, 92), the "first-order" arts are introduced as "steppingstones to the good and the good then descends to make them truly useful." According to Kahn (1996, 209), "the Good itself. . . must be the object . . . for the art of the

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