Plato on censoring artists — a summary

Stephen Hicks | stephenhicks.org

In my Philosophy of Art course, we are discussing Plato’s philosophy of art, by means of selections from Statesman and Books 3 and 10 of The Republic, along with snippets from Ion, Phaedrus, and Symposium.

In The Republic, Plato makes a systematic case for censoring all arts. The task of the Platonic philosopher is to take up the “ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry” [607b] and to assert the State-enforced dominance of philosophy. To that end, The Republic as a whole is a powerful integration of philosophy, religion, education, and politics, and its argument for the political suppression of most art follows from that integrated system.

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