Plato s Physical and Ideal Aspects of Beauty

Aesthetics is a philosophical inquiry into art and beauty. Plato has no definite theory in regards to aesthetics. For Plato art is an evil thing presented by poetry while beauty is the greatest good that is related to the God. What is really beautiful for Plato and what is not
Plato pertains to the divinity of the soul and its relation to the Gods as to what depicts the real beauty of a thing. And more than any other property for which a soul exists, beauty engages the soul and draws it toward philosophical explanation, toward thoughts of absolute beauty and even toward thoughts of other concepts. He regarded that beauty can only be defined by ideal knowledge and this knowledge can only be found in the soul. Ideal beauty is not usually seen by the naked eye. Therefore anything generated by the brain   impulses, desires, inspiration, etc. are mere imitations of these world. The real world, described by Plato as almost utopia is the place where beauty is not really hard to define. This world might also refer to as the spirit world afterlife. This is where, everything goes when the body withers. In this place, real definition of beauty is obtained - perceived by the heart, captured by eyes and analysed by the mind.

Plato claimed the accidental union of body and soul. The body for him is mere illusion and depicts imperfectness. The soul, however, he considers as perfect. He formulated a Fovtrine of Participation where he said that the body shares a part of its perfection from the soul. And by this soul, man can access the Gods. In his work, Phaedrus, he compared the soul to a chariot and divided it into three parts   two horses and a charioteer (Hofstadter and Kuhns 65). The two horses possess completely  opposite characteristics.  Theres a good horse and a bad horse. However, theres the charioteer who happened to be the guide of the horse in reaching their destination. The charioteer is holy and almost godlike. This idea is also related to his theory of Forms, where he defined Forms as non-material abstract forms, and not the material world of sensation, possess the highest kind of reality. HYPERLINK httpen.wikipedia.orgwikiTheory_of_Forms l cite_note-3 Plato conveys that these Forms are the only true objects of study that can provide us with genuine knowledge. In extension, if anything has Form, beauty is there also.

Plato formulated his theory of Forms to solve and give stable meanings for disputed terms regarding universals and particulars. Plato believed that theres a sharp distinction between the world of perceivable objects and the world of universals or Forms. One can only have opinions about the former, but one can have knowledge about the latter. For Plato it was impossible to have knowledge of anything that was particular, since knowledge had to be forever liable and comprehensive by all. Because of this, he was able to conclude that the world of Forms is the real world. This Platonic realism, however, gives people the methodic doubt, same as denying full reality to the material world.

Supporting details in his works will give us a better esplanation about his philosophy on the material world. In Phaedrus, he also mentioned that the sight is the most incisive of all bodily senses (Hofstadter and Kuhns, 1976, p. 61). He emphasized that using vision in defining beauty is dangerous to believe since imitations can fool us. Something that is perceived by sight can be a mere imitation and might give an individual a wrong definition of beauty. The imitation keeps the soul from perceiving other things and makes it focus on the appearance only. It takes more than the vision to tell the reality of a thing, Its the same as saying that the mere sight of beauty does not depict beauty. Anything sensation gave us are pure desire. And desire, like Eros love, is something that is compare to infatuation or madness. Infatuations are mere matters of desires dominating the person (Hofstadter and Kuhns, 1976, p. 62). Judgment based on perception through the vision should be doubted.


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