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For the (Philosophical) Love of Poetic Beauty

Cooper, A; (2017) For the (Philosophical) Love of Poetic Beauty. Philosophical Inquiry , 41 (1) pp. 111-126. 10.5840/philinquiry20174118. Green open access

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It is a well-worn trope to view Plato’s banishment of the poets in Republic as a crude form of philistinism. In this paper I defend Plato against this charge. I argue that Republic does not present a final view of poetry, for it leaves room for a philosophical love of poetic beauty. First I analyse the political nature of Plato’s critique of poetry. I suggest that Plato does not reject the political order of change and decay, but opens space for a new kind of political project. I then suggest that Plato’s discussion of tragic poetry in Book X supports this claim, for it contains the hope for a reconfigured love of poetic beauty. I conclude that Plato does not limit aesthetic experience to artistic solace or metaphysical escapism, but opens a way to see aesthetic experience as a vital part of building a world in which it makes sense to live.

Type: Article
Title: For the (Philosophical) Love of Poetic Beauty
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5840/philinquiry20174118
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.5840/philinquiry20174118
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Plato, Republic, poetry, Nietzsche, Kaufmann, mimesis
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572951
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