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By Monroe C. Beardsley

“Beardsley’s booklet accomplishes to perfection what the author meant. It illuminates a space of background from a undeniable viewpoint as was once by no means performed ahead of. . . . The distinguishing characteristic of his ebook is a n pleasure over every little thing I aesthetics that has to do with symbols, meanings, language, and modes of interpretation. And this pleasure has delivered to mild aspects of the heritage f the topic by no means spotted earlier than, or not less than, now not so clearly.”

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Techne is skill in doing something that takes an uncommon and specialized ability; it involves knowing how to achieve a certain end. In the Sophist, where Plato presents, by way of example, an elaborate definition by dichotomy of the craft of fishing, he divides crafts in general into "acquisitive" (such as money-making) and "productive," or creative, which bring into existence what has not existed before. The productive crafts include a wide range of skills-for example, carpentry, flute-playing, "painting, weaving, embroidery, architecture, the making of furniture" (Republic 401a; trans.

Perhaps mimesis is not an art at all, but "a form of play, not to be taken seriously" (Republic 602b; trans. Cornford). We have come, for the moment, to a rather paradoxical conclusion. For we began by trying to place the arts of music, painting, and poetry in a larger framework, to understand them as crafts of a special sort, with their own aims and methods. But now it appears that they may not be arts at all, but pseudo arts. This may be an overstatement; the painter (we might say) does not merely pretend to practice an art, but he practices an art that consists in pretending, in: making things look like what they are not.

Bury). He works in a mad state, with the irrational part of his soul. Plato's remarks about the mental condition of the poet are so often exaggerated and ironic, or hovering on the verge of irony (as in the reference to the poets as "our fathers, as it were, and conductors in wisdom," [Lysis 214a; trans. Lamb]), that it is not easy to piece together his doctrine. When it suits his purpose, he attacks the nonrationality of the poet, who composes by a certain "genius and inspiration" and does not even know the meaning of what he has said (Apology 22; trans.

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