Chapter

The Formation of Character

Christopher Janaway

in Images of Excellence

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780198237921
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597800 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198237928.003.0005
 The Formation of Character

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Concerns Plato's discussion in Republic Books 2 and 3 of the role of the arts in education in his ideal city. He advocates widespread censorship of poetry, including the works of Homer, on the grounds that poetry should represent only the truth and be conducive to developing a moral character that fits the young for their role as rulers or guardians in the city. The other part of the discussion concerns mimesis, here construed as dramatic enactment or characterization, which Plato argues can diversify the individual too much and detract from a concern with what is ethically good. The chapter argues that Plato's assessment of the nature of poetry and its psychological impact is less problematic than his political programme, in which not only the arts are severely regulated.

Keywords: censorship; Homer; mimesis; moral character; moral education; Plato; poetry; Republic

Chapter.  12431 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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