Art in the Republic

D. R. Greya1

a1 University of Otago, N.Z.

The general thesis which I should wish to sustain on this topic is by no means new. It is, briefly, that even in the Republic, where the views on art which Plato propounds are notoriously unsatisfactory to the modern mind, this unsatisfactoriness is not due to any lack of aesthetic sympathy on Plato's part, but on the contrary to what is almost an excess of it. The position as far as I can understand it is this: the true artist (at least for the period of Platonic thought of which the Republic marks the culmination) is the philosopher, and true artistic insight is episteme. The work of art par excellence is primarily the philosopher's own life-that is, the philosopher himself.