The Value Of Art - Plato and Aristotles Views on Art

Here's the notes I made in my class about Aristotle and Plato's views on art... there's also Nelson Goodman and Anne Sheppard (but there's not that much about them two). Hope it helps people and when I get around to it, I'll throw the rest of my notes up too.


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  • Created by: Kathryn.C
  • Created on: 13-11-10 12:50
Preview of The Value Of Art - Plato and Aristotles Views on Art

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The Value of Art
Plato and Aristotle:
Plato ­ art isn't very good at informing us, actually art isn't all that valuable. It just tends to either overexcite the
emotions or it misinforms us.
Two Criticisms
1. The artist is not a Carpenter, Cobbler, or HorseTrainer so they have no real knowledge of thins and cannot
offer any deep insights to these things.
2. Theory of the Forms ­ for every physical object we see there is an original and perfect form of it. For all
those objects we see, they share some of the universals of the Form. Everyday things we see are only copies of
copies one stage further from the true reality and because of this, Plato implied that art is dangerous as it
appears to be false and is a smokescreen that hides real life.
Problems with Plato's Criticism
1. Not all art is imitation (Plato's criticism hinge on the idea that all art is imitative), some is resemblance.
2. Doesn't consider the theory of Forms to be anything but linear reflection about an object is not taken into
account (imagination) so we look deeper and find out truths.
Aristotle ­ imitation is useful, throughout life from childhood we have learned and benefitted from imitating i.e.
imitation has value
Also, in art we find imitations or resemblances of people in difficult situations. Their actions and choices produce
consequences, some of which are extreme or severe. This sheds light on human experience.
It also acts as a Catharsis (method of coping with things via emotional cleansing), it helps us cope with our
own lives and helps guide our emotions and actions. Helps us become fully human (more moral).
Nelson Goodman ­ Plato is wrong, art doesn't imitate, it's a language based on conventions it speaks to us in
ways that get us to learn to see the world in different ways.
Problem language (art as a language)
Word `Dog' = Image `Dog'
Word `Dog' = Image `Cat' (possibility is you've never seen an actual `dog'. Language can be misleading and
Anne Sheppard ­ Representation, imagination and convention all need to work together successfully in order to
produce a meaningful piece of art.


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