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By Monroe C. Beardsley

“Beardsley’s booklet accomplishes to perfection what the author intended.  It illuminates a space of historical past from a definite viewpoint as was once by no means performed sooner than. . . . The distinguishing characteristic of his ebook is a n pleasure over every little thing I aesthetics that has to do with symbols, meanings, language, and modes of interpretation.  And this pleasure has delivered to gentle features of the historical past f the topic by no means spotted ahead of, or no less than, now not so clearly.” —The magazine of Aesthetics and paintings Criticism

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Extra info for Aesthetics from classical Greece to the present : a short history

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Constitute beauty and excellence" (Philebus 64e; trans. Hackforth). And so, when the list of classes of goods is drawn up at the end of the Philebus, the beautiful is assigned a high place. In the first class Socrates places "what is measured or appropriate," and in the second "what is proportioned and beautiful and what is perfect and satisfying" (66ab). The passage in which these distinctions are made is one of the most difficult and confusing in Plato's ethical writings, and he seems, at the very least, to have taken little pains to clarify these distinctions and relationships.

The more radical one would be to say that implicit in all of Plato's writings about the arts there may be a fundamental distinction between two types of art. Beauty and measure are generally discussed in connection with visual arts; when he talks about poetry, he introduces madness and inspiration. There may be a difference in Plato's attitude here. Perhaps the second, and less farreaching, suggestion is more plausible: though different arts (from, say, the architect's to the rhapsode's) may require more or less deliberate calculation, and though to analyze the beauties of a work once it is completed may require rational thought, still, wherever beauty is captured in sensuous form, some abandonment to the creative eros, some inspired access to ideal beauty, is involved.

Cornford). Plato suggests several ways in which all these crafts might be subdivided-including, for example, a division into human and divine (SOPhist 265b). He does not make the distinction most expected by a modern student of aesthetics-between "fine arts" and utilitarian crafts. Yet the momentous consequence of his thinking was the first theory to cover all of the former. His own terms are not always decisive guides. "Music" (mousike), for example, can mean music, or fine arts in general, or even something like general culture.

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