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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 2018

Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art

Chara Kokkiou
Pages 147-153

The Aesthetics of Place in Plato’s Phaedrus

This paper focuses mainly on the aesthetics of the physical landscape in Plato’s Phaedrus. Although Phaedrus depicts basically the microcosm of the human soul, which strives to reach the forms in a superheaven realm, this paper remains well-rounded and focused on the physicality of the natural beauty of the place, which embraces in a unique way the mythical imagined beauty of the Muses’ art (performance). The first and biggest part of the paper is devoted to the characteristics of the natural beauty of the surroundings, where the dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus takes place. The second part pays attention to the beauty of the Muses’ art, included in the cicadas myth that Socrates narrates. The link between the beautiful natural space and the beautiful song and dance of the Muses is the pleasant cicadas’ song. But, while the beauty of the place is omnipresent and depicted in a most lively and vigorous way, the performance of the Muses is restricted to the realm of the imagination and its beauty is more implied than indicated. How does this general beauty work for the two protagonists? Why does Plato give so much emphasis on the aesthetic description of the natural space?

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