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Life Sciences
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English (U.S.)
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Plato On Poetry, Art And Philosophy Writing Assignment (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

Short Essay I Prompt
Discuss the position Plato takes with regards to the “ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy.” What are Plato’s objections to poetry and art? How do those objections relate to Plato’s theory of ideas/forms?
Your e^say will be based on texts read and discussed in class and will not require research. This means: Do not use secondary/outside sources. Just refer to class lectures and assigned readings. However, your essay should still adhere to academic composition standards with attention to spelling, grammar, and citation. Grading of these essays will be based on your demonstrated understanding of the material discussed in class.
Remember your main objective in writing this essay is to convince me that you read the assignments and attended the class lectures. I am not demanding original arguments. I am simply expecting you to demonstrate that you understood the material.
You are invited (but not required) to use the following guideline for your essay:
1) A main thesis/claim that summarizes Plato’s position
2) Clarify relevant terminology with use of texts (i.e. discuss what we mean by theory of forms, truth, imitation, deception, cave allegory, types of makers if they are relevant to your answer)
3) Use examples (from Plato or your own original examples) to demonstrate abstract concepts
4) Conclude with your own opinion on the subject. You can answer some of these questions: Why is there a quarrel between poetry and philosophy? Who, in your opinion, should win this quarrel? Do you agree with Plato?

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Content:

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Plato on poetry, art and philosophy
In the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy, Plato argued that philosophers sought truth, but poets held that there was no truth. Philosophers felt that they were more important than poets that they rejected poetry, yet some were inspired by poetry. There has existed a troubled relationship between poetry and philosophy because there were attempts to expel poetry from the Greek city states. Since philosophy was seen to deal with knowledge, the poets were excluded from the ideal state, where poetry includes the popular arts like theaters and storytelling. According to Hooks (7), enhancing curiosity and passion should be prioritized, to improve critical thinking skills, as they do not get much attention in formal learning. Plato viewed poetry as imitative and this was less valuable than the field of philosophy where there is focus on seeking knowledge.
In this paragraph, I will highlight how Plato saw poetry as a falsehood that was based on imitation. Plato objected to poetry and art as he saw them as immoral because they were based on falsehood. This contrasts with philosophers who seek the truth and saw reality as it was, compared to the poets who only focused on ideas and ignored what happened in the world around them. Additionally, artists merely copied, yet only the real objects could not be replicated and going beyond limitations of what people did not know would open up possibilities of obtaining true knowledge as is the case of philosophers. For instance, poets imitate rather than seek the truth, and their knowledge is inferior to that of the creators. Dick (309) assessed the influence reality has on memories, highlighting that the difference between truth and fantasy sometimes depends on false-memory patters and the extent to which memory is reliable.
In the paragraph, there is emphasis on the idea of philosophy being associated with knowledge seeking, unlike poetry. Philosophers focused on ideas and truth, but he focuses on illusions. Socrates suggested banning pottery was for the greater good as he distrusted poets who were not the sources of knowledge (Jowett and Plato Book x 4). To Plato poets saw ideas and

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