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Nikhil Babu

on 10 September 2013

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Transcript of Aristotle

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher- 384 BC
Student of Plato
Interests included theater, physics, poetry, politics, biology and logic
His views of physics impacted the study of physics for centuries
Aristotle’s philosophy still studied today

Aristotle: Contrast With Plato
Aristotle’s Perspective on Theater/Poetry
Tragic poetry is a form of imitation- imitation of events that elicit pity and fear
The goal of tragedy is to evoke fear and pity since pity connects the audience to the art
Tragedy serves to edify and educate- Man learns from imitation
Plot most important aspect of tragedy

Aristotle’s Perspective on Theater/Poetry
If tragedy fails to evoke pity and fear, it has fallen short of its purpose and failed to truly connect with (and teach) the audience
Two parts of the plot are essential to effectively creating an emotional response- peripety (switching from one mood to the opposite) and discovery (character begins to understand the “evil concept”)
Misfortune should be a result of misjudgment, not moral depravity
Characters must imitate real people to connect with the audience- place oneself in the position of the character
Art “brings the masses to a more virtuous life”

Felt art had value to society
Plato believed art was a hopeless mimicry of reality while Aristotle believed the imperfect process was an “ethical endeavor”
Plato believed the empirical world is a shadow of ideal truths
Plato less interested in science
Aristotle developed methods of inquiry to understand truth and the world. He formed the basis for today’s scientific method.
Aristotle believed the arts are part of the process to discovery while Plato believed that they muddle the path to Truth

Perspective on Music
Music ‘makes care to cease’
Music has greater power than simply 'common pleasure' in influencing one's character
Skill out of necessity greater than solely out of desire for self-edification
Rhythm and harmony imitate anger and gentleness
Unique interpretation derived from the same music
Music can form the character, but is still pleasurable, having a 'natural sweetness'

Perspective on Music
Youth can’t endure anything not sweetened by pleasure (society as well? Artistic expression that too aggressively challenges views is met with resistance)
Youth learning to appreciate what is good music- constricting tastes? Or enabling a more fine appreciation of art? Allow to appreciate more than simply the “common parts of music"
"The learning of music ought not to impede the business of riper years"
Performer- practice not for own edification but for audience’s pleasure
Therefore, there “ought to be” a lower class of music that can be appreciated by the unrefined since art should be tailored for the audience
The second class have a right of enjoyment of music as well

Perspective on Music
Music- studied for education, purification and intellectual enjoyment
Man receives pleasure from what is natural for him
Music of older generation has less strength but it is what is possible for them- one of the two principles (what is possible and what is becoming)
The mean- in which the extremes are avoided- is the most acceptable. The flute "does not have a good moral effect"
But is it the most edifying? Does it challenge current perspective adequately?

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.“
Works Cited
Aristotle. "Theory of Music." Antaeus. 93 (1993): 71-72. Print.
Aristotle. "The Poetics: Aristotle on the Art of Poetry." Dover Thrift. Print.
Flynn, Lawrence J. "Aristotle: Art and Faculty of Rhetoric." The Southern Speech Journal. 21.4 (1956): 244-254. Print.
Shields, Christopher, "Aristotle", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2012/entries/aristotle/>.
Tillman, Frank A, and Steven M. Cahn. Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, from Plato to Wittgenstein. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. Print.


Nikhil Babu and Philip Behrend
"A tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action...with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions."
Aristotle.Poetics.(14449b24). 350 BCE
"Music directly imitates the passions or states of the soul."
Aristotle, Poetics. 350 BCE

Where does surrealism and abstract art fit into Aristotle's view that art is imitation since many abstract works of art do not seem to have any relevance to reality?
What is the role of the audience in the creation of art? Aristotle contends that there is a place for 'lower class music' to appeal to the lower class of society.
Aristotle felt that art had a greater purpose beyond entertainment
The foundation of art is mimetic and humans learn from imitation
Music edifies the soul through pleasure while tragedy educates through pity and fear
Should music be included in our educational system?
"If they must learn music, on the same principle, they should learn cookery, which is absurd."
Aristotle, Politics
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