Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 13, Issue 2, Spring 2009

Selected Articles of the Ancient Philosophy Society

Kalliopi Nikolopoulou
Pages 249-266

Plato and Hegel on an Old Quarrel

This paper addresses the relationship of ancients to moderns by focusing on the “quarrel” between art and philosophy that has led to two articulations of the end of art—one in antiquity, another in modernity: Plato, who expelled the poets from his city on account of art’s irrationality, and Hegel, for whom art was no more the necessary vehicle for truth. Following Giorgio Agamben’s cue in The Man Without Content, I opt for a symptomatic reading of Plato’s condemnation of art, by foregrounding his ambivalence toward poetry. I conclude that, whereas Hegel found poetry wanting, Plato understood poetry’s truth to be tragically excessive.