Blog #64: A debate between two stubborn philosophical legends

Blog 64: Write a dialogue between Plato and Aristotle over a piece of art (it can be a painting, photograph, scene from a play, a film, or a piece of music). Present it as a Socratic style dialectic dialogue. Demonstrate your grasp of Plato’s and Aristotle’s differing views of the value of art in your dialogue. (It should be long enough to (1) discuss the art you choose to debate over, and, (2) demonstrate your understanding of their philosophical positions on art).

Aristotle: How beautiful this scene is, Plato

Plato: How can you enjoy this sort of imitation. This is nothing more than a copy of a copy. This measly actor is copying a human’s behavior and then you’re watching it on your television which is another level removed. You silly weasel. You’re being fooled.

Aristotle: I am aware that this film isn’t my reality, Plato. Gather yourself. It’s about what the scene represents. Poor boy’s sitting by the fire reflecting on a loved one he’s lost to another woman. How can you not feel his pain in your heart? Have you never experienced true love or loss?

Plato: Why distract yourself from the concrete reality with this nonsense? This is pointless. Why are you trying to live vicariously through this actor? It’s nothing but a dangerous illusion.

Aristotle: Sometimes it’s nice to know that these feelings we all feel so deeply are universal, my friend. To know that we all experience pain and love and sadness. That we find comfort in fires. It’s almost an escape…

Plato: …AN ESCAPE FROM REALI…

Aristotle: …Let me finish. It’s not that I get lost in the movie or absorbed into the acting or think that I am Elio or… I guess Timothee Chalamet. It’s simply a form of catharsis to view this type of thing. It makes me feel less alone. 

Plato: But if you keep watching this folly, you’re just going to end up missing out on real life.

Aristotle: Sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from ordinary, everyday life things, Plato. Just enjoy yourself. Allow yourself to appreciate this art and get distracted from time to time. Admire the beauty of his acting and feel the emotion in his watery eyes. There’s more to life than thinking so hard about reality.

Plato: That’s because you’re ignorant!

Aristotle: Perhaps I’m just more open-minded than you are…

Plato: There’s not a point in being open-minded about those kinds of things.

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