Plato – critical of art
Poetry was read aloud in festivals. Poetry was also held in high esteem.
People looked toward stories in poetry for moral guidance.
Moral case –
Poetry can corrupt listeners. For instance, poetry can teach people that gods are not good.
Poetry can make the afterlife seem bad.
Poetry portrays good people as being miserable.
(Book 10 of Republic) Corrosive effect on people’s emotions – causes people to enjoy irrational behavior.
Poetry can produce desires in man.
Poetry is about people who are not guided by reason.
People should not avoid emotion but keep them guided by reason. Poetry prevents people from using rational balance in emotion and behavior.
Mimesis – “imitation” of characters by poets.
Imitating bad characters can make you bad if done seriously and from youth.
Poets can perform their social role poorly by imitating other’s social roles.
Epistemological criticism –
Poets do not know the nature of the things of which they speak.
– Pious actions participate in piety – the form of piety –
As we advance in knowledge we advance in the form.
What you learn from your senses is irrelevant to knowledge of the forms. You must use your senses to learn about the form of a thing.
Painters only have knowledge of a thing’s appearance and, therefore, do not have knowledge of the forms – only of appearances. The same applies to poets.
Painters, and poets, also do not have true beliefs about things.
There are consequences to having knowledge. (knowledge of virtue is being virtuous; knowledge of bravery is being brave)
Poets do not show signs of these consequences.
Someone who uses or creates a thing has knowledge of a thing. Poets/painters neither use nor create things.
Painters exploit people’s tendency to make errors. (using tricks of perspective and shadow) So do poets.
Heavily censored poetry can be heard by the youth who will eventually be guardians. Adults must pay a heavy fine to do so.
Are the arts valuable for gaining knowledge?