Ithaca Free School

Monday, January 10, 2005

Monday: Christopher's Day Off

2pm: Plato.

4pm: Euclid.

6pm: Lucretius.


At January 10, 2005 at 6:32 PM, Blogger Ithaca Free School said...

We read Plato's Ion.

We went through ten propositions of Euclid.

We read half of book two of De Rerum Natura.

A good time was had by all.

At February 22, 2005 at 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note on the Ion

Socrates runs into Ion, a famous rhapsode of Epheseus, who claims, rather conceitedly, that his power as a Homeric rhapsode is due to his ability to interpret Homer well. Socrates questions considering rhapsody as an art (technh - art, skill, almost craft - a practical knowledge, "how to", however distinct from phronos)

Socrates claims, first of all, that technh implies knowledge of judging who speaks well or badly concerning a specific subject matter - a doctor (with the technh of medicine can judge who speaks correct or incorrectly concerning health). Ion only has knowledge of Homer, not of poetry (or of all poets) in general. Therefore rhapsody cannot be considered a technh.

Socrates then claims rhapsodes are hoi twn aggolwn aggaloi (messengers of messengers), that is, once removed from poets, as divine messengers. Therefore rhapsody (and poetry for that matter) is not technh but rather divinely inspired (through madness, I think will be the later claim).

Socrates further humiliates Ion by demonstrating how rhapsody has no object (or subject matter) though Ion claims that the rhapsode and the general are equivalent (I imagine since much poetry (particularly Homer) is martial). This is because poets seems to speak over a variety of subject matters, non of which they (nor the Rhapsode) possess as technh.

The general purpose of the dialog is to demonstrate the lack of wisdom in those considered wise. Rhapsodes, like sophists, are able to appear wise, though they are really ignorant. The general "philosophy of art" I find rather uninteresting. Poiein (poetry, making) in general, I do not think was considered technh. Though I find it interesting that Hellenic cultures considered everything else we would consider art as mere skill, or craft.


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