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Poetry In Plato's Gorgias

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Chapter Summary

In an assessment of Platos attitude towards poetry and the poets, discussion of the Gorgias therefore has its rightful place. In this discussion, the author takes as the starting point Socrates' criticism of tragedy which arises in the dialogue in the course of the second discussion of the distinction between 'empirical' pursuits that aim for pleasure on the one hand, and on the other 'technical' pursuits that aim forwhat is best, be it in relation to the body or to the soul. Plato offers an extensive criticism of rhapsodes, poets and poetry in the Ion, and of rhetoric and its practitioners in the Gorgias. Callicles subsequent distinction between good and bad pleasures allows Socrates to revert to his previously stated position that there are two fundamentally opposed ways of life, one directed towards pleasure, the other towards what is good.

Keywords: Callicles; Gorgias; Platos attitude; Socrates

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