Plato and the Censure of Art

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Plato and the censure of Art

Plato when imagined his ideal state, he asserts that societies have a structure where in everything has its place. To maintain order, every factor of life, from people to production to ideas must be subordinated to the good of the state. As such, if art needs to be censured for the betterment of the State, it should be. Plato presents a logical argument of the arts, specifically painting and poetry, and comes to the conclusion that art should be censored.

The reasoning behind Plato's call to censor the arts starts off with the explanation that art is mimetic, and thus twice removed from the truth. Although he once wrote that art imitated Ideal reality, rather than a direct imitation of it, he attacks art in that it often presents images that encourage false ideas to the viewer. For example, an impressionist style painting of a flower will fail as a work of art because it is so far from the reality the subject actually is. If these images were the only depiction of that flower that people had seen, it would give them a false sense of what was being depicted. Because art is twice a representation of a truth, it appeals to the irrational part of our brain and therefore can corrupt character by influencing undesirable emotions and should indeed be censored.

Plato uses the example of tables and couches, to decide how art is removed from the truth. He starts with a the form, a divine idea of the table, created in nature and made by the...God of Tables and Couches I guess. Then we have a man-made form, a table created by a human craftsmen. Finally Plato suggests a representation of that from, a painting created by an artist. The Divine Form is considered the true form of a table or couch or any item. The painting then becomes a copy of a copy, twice removed from the original. Artists , in Plato's view, have no actual grasp on the original true form. They are imitators of other's creations and the...
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