Posts Tagged ‘“Ion”’

♠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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