Plato's Mimetic Art

Gene Fendt
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Plato’s dialogues are self-defined as works of mimetic art, and the ancients clearly consider mimesis as working naturally before reason and beneath it. Such aview connects with two contemporary ideas—Rene Girard’s idea of the mimetic basis of culture and neurophysiological research into mirror neurons. Individualityarises out of, and can collapse back into our mimetic origin. This para-rational notion of mimesis as that in which and by which all our knowledge is framed requires we not only concern ourselves with Socrates’s arguments and distinctions, but also see how the dramatic interaction of the characters is working (or not) on/in the characters, and consider how watching the interaction, hearing the parables and myths, and thinking through the arguments and interactions is meant to effect us. That Plato creates mimeses means he aims at passional conversion not merely argumentative worth, since mimesis aims to (and does) work on the passions
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Conference Proceedings  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0065-7638
DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20108419
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