Language and Other Abstract Objects: Plato

Language and Other Abstract Objects was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 1981. It discusses the ideas of Plato studied in CC101.

Internalization and externalization also explain why, for Plato, poetry corrupts our psyches. Given our psychology, there are two features of poetry which make it an especially potent drug. First, the music and  rhythms with which poetry is expressed pour directly into our psyche. Second, poetry tends to be expressed in imitative style: the characters speak as though from their own first-personal perspectives. In this way, poetry can preserve the first-personal perspective throughout its transmissions. Whether we are poet, performer or audience, we imaginely take up the perspective of the characters: even the best of us abandon ourselves and imaginatively take up their feelings. It is as though imitation blurs the boundary between inside and outside. Through imitation we get outside ourselves imaginatively, but psychologically we take the outside in. By pretending to be these characters, we unconsciously shape our characters around them. The mimetic poet, says Plato, sets up a bad constitution in the psyche of each person.

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