Views on the Mimetic Function of Art

Write an essay on the following topic: Outline [40%] and evaluate [60%] either Plato or Aristotle’s views on the mimetic function of art. Sources can be from below and with others Plato, Ion – reprinted in Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. by Steven M. Cahn and Aaron Meskin (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008). pp. 16-23. Plato, Symposium reprinted in Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. by Steven M. Cahn and Aaron Meskin (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008). pp. 34-40. Plato, The Republic (various editions available): Books Two, Three, Seven, and Ten. Aristotle, The Poetics, reprinted in Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. by Steven M. Cahn and Aaron Meskin (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008). pp. 41-56. There are two main parts to this assignment, the first is descriptive and involves identifying and articulating the central features of either Plato or Aristotle’s views on the mimetic function of art. The second part of the assignment is evaluative and is likely to take up the greater part of your essay. In answering this question, firstly, make sure to select the position of either Plato or Aristotle to focus on. You are not required to write on the views of both philosophers. If you wish, you may choose to introduce the philosopher you have not chosen in order to offer a critique (or an alternative perspective) to the arguments of the philosopher you choose to focus on, but this is not necessary. The first part of this assignment focusses on your ability to outline clearly the way in which your chosen philosopher views mimesis in art. In doing this, you should support the points you make with textual reference. Remember that when you focus in on a particular area of any philosopher’s work, such as their work on aesthetics, you must be aware that their views on that particular subject did not come about in isolation from the rest of their work. It is important, therefore, that when their wider philosophy has bearing on their views on aesthetics, it may be important for your argument if you refer to those wider aspects of their philosophy. In responding to the second part of the question, it is important that you evaluate the philosopher’s position as outlined by you earlier in the essay. Evaluation is an important component of any philosophy essay. Whatever points you wish to make by way of evaluation, you should ensure that you articulate to the reader your overall assessment and your reasons for arriving at that conclusion.

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