Posts Tagged ‘Aristotle’

♠Plato´s “Ion” and Aristotle´s “Poetics”: “On the Concepts of Mimesis and Catharsis”:





1) →Plato´s “Ion”: ” On the Concept of Mimesis as “The representation of nature”.

 And of Poetry as “A virtue of divine possession”:



Both Plato and Aristotle saw in mimesis the representation of nature. Plato wrote about mimesis in both in “Ion” and “The Republic” (Books II, III, and X). 

It is in “Ion” where this topic is more developped, Socrates discusses with Ion, a professional rhapsode who also lectures on Homer, the question of whether the rhapsode, a performer of poetry, gives his performance on account of his skill and knowledge or by virtue of divine possession.

Socrates engages Ion in a philosophical discussion. Ion admits when Socrates asks, that his skill in performance recitation is limited to Homer, and that all other poets bore him.

Socrates says that the god speaks first to the poet, then gives the rhapsode his skill,and thus, gods communicate to the people. Socrates posits that Ion must be out of his mind when he acts, because he can weep even though he has lost nothing, and recoil in fear when in front of an admiring audience. Ion says that the explanation for this is very simple: it is the promise of payment that inspires his deliberate disconnection from reality. In says that when he looks at the audience and sees them weeping, he knows he will laugh because it has made him richer, and that when they laugh, he will be weeping at losing the money (535e).

Socrates offers the metaphor of a magnet to explain how the rhapsode transmits the poet’s original inspiration from the muse to the audience.This argument is supposed to be an early example of a so-called genetic fallacy since his conclusion arises from his famous lodestone (magnet) analogy. 

According to Koeppe this argument can be summarized as follows: (a) Ion is inspired whenever he encounters Homer’s works; (b) Ion lacks the higher-order mental states needed for epistemic-justification while being inspired (c) Ion has no other relevant source of justification besides Homer’s works.

Socrates says that the rhapsode is not guided by rules of art, but is an inspired person who derives a mysterious power from the poet; and the poet, is inspired by the God. The poets and their interpreters may be compared to a chain of magnetic rings suspended from one another, and from a magnet. The magnet is the Muse, and the ring which immediately follows is the poet himself; from him are suspended other poets; there is also a chain of rhapsodes and actors, who also hang from the Muses, but are let down at the side; and the last ring of all is the spectator.

Through Socrates, Plato argues that “Ion’s talent as an interpreter cannot be an art, a definable body of knowledge or an ordered system of skills,” but instead must come from the divine madness or inspiration of the Muse.

The old quarrel between philosophy and poetry, which in “The Republic” leads to their final separation, is already working in the mind of Plato, and is embodied by him in the contrast between Socrates and Ion. Yet here, as in the Republic, Socrates shows a sympathy with the poetic nature. Also, the manner in which Ion is affected by his own recitations affords a lively illustration of the power which, in the Republic, Socrates attributes to dramatic performances over the mind of the performer.

Because the poet is subject to this divine madness, it is not his/her function to convey the truth. As Plato has it, only truth is the concern of the philosopher.


Click on the image above to read Plato´s dialogue "Ion".-

Click on the image above to read Plato´s dialogue “Ion”.-


2) →Aristotle´s “Poetics”: On The Concepts of Mimesis  as “the perfection and imitation of nature” 

And Catharsis as “a purification and purgation of emotions”:



Similar to Plato’s writings about mimesis, Aristotle also defined mimesis as the perfection and imitation of nature. Art is not only imitation but also the use of mathematical ideas and symmetry in the search for the perfect, the timeless, and contrasting being with becoming. Nature is full of change, decay, and cycles, but art can also search for what is everlasting and the first causes of natural phenomena

Aristotle’s “Poetics”  is often referred to as the counterpart to this Platonic conception of poetry.

Aristotle considered important that there might a certain distance between art and life. Hence, we draw knowledge and consolation from tragedies only because they do not happen to us. Without this distance, tragedy could not give rise to catharsis.

Catharsis (from the Greek κάθαρσις katharsis meaning “purification” or “cleansing”) is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal

Catharsis can only be achieved if we see something that is both recognisable and distant. Aristotle argued that literature is more interesting as a means of learning than history, because history deals with specific facts that have happened, and which are contingent, whereas literature, although sometimes based on history, deals with events that could have taken place or ought to have taken place.

Aristotle thought of drama as being “an imitation of an action” and of tragedy  as “falling from a higher to a lower estate”. He held the characters in tragedy were better than the average human being, while those of comedy were worse.


Click on the image above to read Aristotle´s "Poetics".-

Click on the image above to read Aristotle´s “Poetics”.-


♠Quotes on Aristotle´s “Poetics”:








♠Links Post:


♠Last but not least: Thanks Salvela for the nomination:

The Cracking Chrispmouse Bloggywog Award:

Click on the image above to check out the nomination.-

Click on the image above to check out the nomination.-



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♠Aristotle´s Nichomachean Ethics: “Three Types of Friendship”

(Based on Utility, Pleasure and Goodness):





In Book VIII of “The Nichomachean Ethics”, Aristotle makes reference to three kinds of friendship.

1) The first is friendship based on utility, where both people derive some benefit from each other.

Aristotle describes a friendship of utility as shallow, “easily dissolved” or for the old. He views them as such because this type of friendship is easily broken and based on something that is brought to the relationship by the other person. Aristotle uses the example of trade and argues that friendships of utility are often between opposite people, in order to maximize this trade

2) The second is friendship based on pleasure, where both people are drawn to the other’s wit, good looks, or other pleasant qualities. Aristotle says that riendship of pleasure is normally built between the young as passions and pleasures are great influences in their lives. This type of relationship is characterized by such feelings as passion between lovers, or the feeling of belonging among a likeminded group of friends. It differs from the friendship of utility in that those who seek utility friendships are looking for a business deal or a long term benefit, whereas the friendship of pleasure Aristotle describes is where one seeks something which is pleasant to them presently.

The first two kinds of friendship are only accidental, because in these cases friends are motivated by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the friend. Both of these kinds of friendship are short-lived because one’s needs and pleasures are apt to change over time.

3) The third is friendship based on goodness, where both people admire the other’s goodness and help one another strive for goodness.

Friendships of the good are ones where both friends enjoy each other’s characters. Aristotle calls it a “…complete sort of friendship between people who are good and alike in virtue…” This is the highest level of Philia,(φιλία), often translated “brotherly love”, and one of the highest forms of Love in Aristotle´s “Nichomachean Ethics”.

Aristotle (384 BC / 322 BC).-

Aristotle (384 BC / 322 BC).-

Those involved in friendship of the good must be able to value loving over being loved and as such, their relationship will be based more around loving the other person and wanting what is good for them.  Goodness is an enduring quality, so friendships based on goodness tend to be long lasting.

This friendship encompasses the other two, as good friends are useful to one another and please one another. Such friendship is rare and takes time to develop, but it is the best.

As well, Aristotle believes that it is through friendship that cities are held together. Those with the moral virtue to enter virtuous relationships are a major part of this but friendships of utility and pleasure are also needed as friendships of virtue are severely limited in number It is the friendships of utility and pleasure that keep the city together. however; it takes the character of those in the virtuous friendship for a solid community to exist.

Aristotle states in Book VIII, Chapter 1: “Between friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered to be justice in the fullest sense. It is not only a necessary thing but a splendid one”. Aristotle bases his conception of justice on a conception of fair exchange, and does the same for friendship. Friendships are balanced by the fact that each friend gives as much as receives. Hence, justice and friendship are closely connected.


♠Read The Nichomachean Ethics By Aristotle (Complete Text):

 Click on the image above to read "The Nichomachean Ethics", by Aristotle.-

Click on the image above to read “The Nichomachean Ethics”, by Aristotle.-


♠Index of Contents: Aristotle´s “Nichomachean Ethics”:

Click above for further details.-

Click above for more details on Aristotle´s “Nichomachean Ethics” .-








♠Links Post:

♠Last but not least: The Versatile Blogger Award:

Thanks Salvela for nominating me for this great award. Gracias por la nominación, Salvela.-



The Rules of the Award:

1. Display the award logo on your blog /Ubicar el logo del premio en el blog
2. Link back to the person who nominated you/ Enlazar a la persona que te ha nominado.
3. State 7 things about yourself/ Numerar 7 cosas sobre tí.
4. Nominate 15 (more or less) other bloggers for this award and link to them/ Nominar a 15 otros bloggers y enlazarlos
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements/ Notificar a los nominados de la nominación y de las reglas.

My Nominees Are / Mis nominados son: 1) English Through ICT. 2)The Regular Guy NYC. 3) Blue Fish Way. 4) English with a Twist. 5) Geografía Subjetiva. 6) Reconstructing Christina. 7) Ajaytao 2010. 8) Plato´s Symposium. 9) Philosopher mouse of the Hedge. 10) Tom Gething Re Reading. 11) Keith Garrett Poetry. 12) John Coyote. 13) Magnificum Sanctórum. 14) Authentic Teaching. 15) Anatomía de la Intimidad.

If you don´t want to get awards over your blog, you can take it as a little gesture of recognition for your great job as a blogger. Thanks and keep it up / Si no quieres premios en tu blog, puedes tomar la nominación como un gesto de reconocimiento por tu excelente labor como Blogger. Sigue así. Aquileana 🙂


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♠Aristotle’s Three Types of Knowledge in The Nichomachean Ethics: “Techné, Episteme and Phronesis”:

Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek: εὐδαιμονία)  is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics, translated as happiness, welfare or "human flourishing".-

Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek: εὐδαιμονία) is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics, translated as happiness, welfare or “human flourishing”.-


In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle (384 /322) describes three approaches to knowledge. In Greek, the three are episteme, techné and phronesis

Whereas episteme concerns theoretical know why and techné denotes technical know how, phronesis emphasizes practical knowledge and practical ethics.

Aristotle classified knowledge in three different types Episteme (Scientific Knoledge), Techné (Skill and crafts) and Phronesis (Wisdom).

1.►Episteme: It means “to know” in Greek. It is related to scientific knowledge. Attributes: Universal, invariable, context-independent.  Based on general analytical rationality. Epistemology, the study of knowledge, is derived from episteme. 

Episteme was viewed by the Greeks as a partner to techné. Plato used episteme to denote ‘justified true belief”, in contrast to doxa, common belief or opinion.

2.►TechnéThe greek word translates to craftsmanship, craft, or art.

In the Dictionary of Philosophy,  it is defined as: “The set of principles, or rational method, involved in the production of an object or the accomplishment of an end; the knowledge of such principles or method; art. Techne resembles episteme in implying knowledge of principles, but differs in that its aim is making or doing, not disinterested understanding”. 

Characteristics: Pragmatic, variable, context-dependent. Oriented toward production. Based on practical instrumental rationality governed by a conscious goal. The original concept appears today in terms such as “technique” and “technology.” 

For the ancient Greeks, when techné appears as art, it is most often viewed negatively, whereas when used as a craft it is viewed positively because a craft is the practical application of an art, rather than art as an end in itself. In “The Republic”, written by Plato, the knowledge of forms is the indispensable basis for the philosophers craft of ruling in the city.

Aristotle viewed techné as an imperfect human representation of nature. Socrates and Plato also used the word, and distinguished craftsmanship (which they viewed in a positive light) from art (which they viewed in a negative light). 

3.►Phronesis It means Practical wisdom. It is related to the following main ideas: Ethics.  Deliberation about values with reference to praxis.  Pragmatic, variable, context dependent.  Oriented toward action.  Based on practical value-rationality.

Aristotle distinguished between Sophia and Phronesis in the following manner. Sophia involves reasoning concerning universal truths, while Phronesis includes a capability of rational thinking. 

In order to practice phronesis, Aristotle felt that political abilities were required, as well as thinking abilities. Aristotle categorized there elements of character (ethos) in the following manner: 1) phronesis (how to act in particular situations), 2) areté (virtue) and 3) eunoia (goodwill).-




♠Quotes From Aristotle´s “Nicomachean Ethics”

“Techné, Episteme and Phronesis”:

Aristotle (384 /322) .

Aristotle (384 /322) .-

“What science [episteme] is…will be clear from the following argument.  We all assume that what we know cannot be otherwise than it is, whereas in the case of things that may be otherwise, when they have passed out of our view we can no longer tell whether they exist or not.  Therefore, the object of scientific knowledge is of necessity.  Therefore it is eternal…  Induction introduces us to first principles and universals, while deduction starts from universals… Thus scientific knowledge is a demonstrative state, (i.e., a state of mind capable of demonstrating what it known)…i.e., a person has scientific knowledge when his belief is conditioned in a certain way, and the first principles are known to him;  because if they are not better known to him than the conclusion drawn from them, he will have knowledge only incidentally”. [N.E. 1139b18-36].
“Since building is an art [techné] and is essentially a reasoned productive state, and since there is no art that is not a state of this kind, and no state of this kind that is not an art, it follows that art is the same as a productive state that is truly reasoned.  Every art is concerned with bringing something into being, and the practice of an art is the study of how to bring into being something that is capable either of being or of not being…For it is not with things that are or come to be of necessity that art is concerned [this is the domain of episteme] nor with natural objects (because these have their origin in themselves)…Art…operates in the sphere of the variable”.  [N.E. 1140a1-23].
“We may grasp the nature of prudence [phronesis] if we consider what sort of people we call prudent.  Well, it is thought to be the mark of a prudent man to be able to deliberate rightly about what is good and advantageous…But nobody deliberates about things that are invariable…So…prudence cannot be science or art;  not science [episteme] because what can be done is a variable (it may be done in different ways, or not done at all), and not an art [techne] because action and production are generically different.  For production aims at an end other than itself;  but this is impossible in the case of action, because the end is merely doing well.  What remains, then is that it is a true state, reasoned, and capable of action with regard to things that are good or bad for man.  We consider that this quality belongs to those who understand the management of households or states”.  [N.E. 1140a24-1140b12].


 Aristotle (384 /322) .-

Aristotle (384 /322) .-


♠Attached Notes: “Techné, Episteme in Plato´s Republic“:

platoPlato’s uses the notion of techné as a way of explicating central themes, such as virtue, ruling, and the creation of the cosmos. First of all, a craft has a function (ergon); this is what it characteristically does or what it characteristically accomplishes. In fact, he highlights that crafts are differentiated by their specific functions (erga) (Rep. 346a). 

While the ergon of a craft is its goal, the goal is frequently identified with a result separate from the activity of the craft. Whereas techné is associated with knowing how to do (epistasthai) certain activities, episteme sometimes indicates a theoretical component of techné, associated then with understanding (gnôsis).

For Plato, Knowledge (episeême) is the ability to know the real as it is (Rep 477b). Knowledge, in the sense of episteme, will be deductive and logical, like mathematics; unlike mathematics, its deductions will be based on foundations that need no further justification. In part it will be something like mathematical deduction based in fundamental reality. When using mathematical thinking as an analogue for dialectic, Platon  is still relying on the notion of technê since both geometry and calculation are technai. So even though he distinguishes between techné and episteme, their relation is more of a tension than a divorce.





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♠Aristotle´s Ethical Theory:

“On the Concepts of Virtue and Golden Mean”:



The concept of Aristotle’s theory of golden mean is represented in his work called “Nicomachean Ethics”, in which Aristotle explains the origin, nature and development of virtues which are essential for achieving the ultimate goal, happiness (Greek: eudaimonia), which must be desired for itself.

The virtue (areté ) or excellence of a thing causes that thing both to be itself in good condition and to perform its function well. Virtue, then, is a kind of moderation as it aims at the mean or moderate amount.

Aristotle’s ethics is strongly teleological, practical, which means that it should be the action that leads to the realization of the good of the human being as well as the whole. This end is realized through continuous acting in accordance with virtues which, like happiness, must be desired for themselves, not for the short term pleasures that can be derived from them. This is not to say that happiness is void of pleasures, but that pleasures are a natural effect, not the purpose. In order to act virtuously, we must first acquire virtues, by parental upbringing, experience and reason.

For Aristotle, virtue is an all-or-nothing affair. We cannot pick and choose our virtues: we cannot decide that we will be courageous and temperate but choose not to be magnificent. Nor can we call people properly virtuous if they fail to exhibit all of the virtues.

Though Aristotle lists a number of virtues, he sees them all as coming from the same source. A virtuous person is someone who is naturally disposed to exhibit all the virtues, and a naturally virtuous disposition exhibits all the virtues equally.

The word ethics descends from the Greek word ethos, which means  that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. Aristotle’s concern is then, is what constitutes a good character. All the virtues spring from a unified character, so no good person can exhibit some virtues without exhibiting them all. Aristotle describes ethical virtue as a “hexis” (“state” “condition” “disposition”)—a tendency or disposition, induced by our habits, to have appropriate feelings (Nicomachean Ethics. 1105b25–6).

Aristotle says that when the good person chooses to act virtuously, he does so for the sake of the “kalon”—a word that can mean “beautiful,” “noble,” or “fine.”. This term indicates that Aristotle sees in ethical activity an attraction that is comparable to the beauty of well-crafted artifacts, including such artifacts as poetry, music, and drama. He draws this analogy in his discussion of the mean, when he says that every craft tries to produce a work from which nothing should be taken away and to which nothing further should be added (Nicomachean Ethics. 1106b5–14).

Aristotle develops the doctrine of the mean in the course of his discussion of aretê, excellence or virtue, in Book II of the Nicomachean. There he writes that: “all excellence makes what has it good, and also enables it to perform its function well. For instance, the excellence of an eye makes the eye good and enables it to function well as an eye; having good eyes means being able to see well. Likewise, the excellence of a horse makes it a good horse, and so good at galloping, carrying its rider, and facing the enemy. If this is true in all cases, then, the excellence of a human being will be that disposition which makes him a good human being and which enables him to perform his function well”. (1106a16-25. Source: History of Philosophy Quarterly 4/3, July 1987.)

In “The virtue of Aristotle’s ethics “, Gottlieb (1) identifies the three core aspects of the doctrine of the mean. First, virtue, like health, is produced and preserved by avoiding extremes. Second, virtue is a mean relative to us. Third, each virtue is a mean between two vices, one of excess and one of deficiency.

It is no easy matter to hit the mean but Aristotle has some general advice to offer those who are aiming at, trying to observe, the mean: “What is necessary first in aiming at the mean is to avoid that extreme which is the more opposed to the mean. Since of the two extremes one is a more serious error than the other, and since hitting the mean accurately is hard, the second-best thing… is to take the lesser of the evils” (Source: History of Philosophy Quarterly 4/3, July 1987).

The golden mean represents a balance between extremes or vices. For example, courage is the middle between one extreme of deficiency (cowardness) and the other extreme of excess (recklessness).

The mean as concerns fear and confidence is courage: those that exceed in fearlessness are foolhardy, while those who exceed in fear are cowardly.

The mean in respect to certain pleasures and pains is called temperance, while the excess is called profligacy. Deficiency in this matter is never found, so this sort of person does not have a name .

In the matter of giving and earning money, the mean is liberality, excess and deficiency are prodigality and miserliness. But both vices exceed and fall short in giving and earning in contrary ways: the prodigal exceeds in spending, but falls short in earning; the miser exceeds in earning, but falls short in spending.

With respect to honor and disgrace, the mean is “high-mindedness,” the excess might be called vanity, and the deficiency might be called humility or small-mindedness. . .

The importance of the golden mean is that it re-affirms the balance needed in life. It remains puzzling how this ancient wisdom, known before Aristotle re-introduced it, (it is present in the myth of Icarus, in a Doryc saying carved in the front of the temple at Delphi: “Nothing in Excess,” in the teachings of Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato) can be so forgotten and neglected in the modern society.




Aristotle (384-322).-

Aristotle (384-322).-




♠Read Aristotle´s Nicomachean Ethics (Full PDF Version):

Topics of this post correspond to Pages 22 /33 (Book I) & 34/53 (Book II): 

Click o the cover book to read "Nicomachean Ethics" by Aristotle.-

Click on the cover book to read “Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle.-


♠Nota a los lectores en castellano:

Para leer artículos sobre Aristóteles los remito al siguiente listado:

Hacer click aquí.

Como autora del blog me reservo el derecho que me asiste discrecionalmente y me lleva a optar por el idioma inglés para publicar artículos, en este caso de filosofía. Tiene que ver con un interés absolutamente personal y con una comunidad de lectores asiduos y activos del blog cuyo idioma nativo es el inglés. También con una mayor vastedad de los temas en idioma inglés, cuando el blog ya cuenta con un considerable número de entradas en castellano, cuyos temas ya han sido abarcados en mayor o menor medida. Esto no implica que no se publiquen artículos en castellano. Los temas también definen el idioma en el que se publica.

Atentamente saludos, Aquileana.-



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