Choratopos: First Notes on Cosmological Aesthetics

  • Dario Giugliano
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 39)


The concept of Platonic chora has been variously interpreted. Some scholars have interpreted as hyle, the matter in the Aristotelian sense or as what things are made. But most of the interpreters agrees that the concept of chora refers to a field of meaning much more complex. Of course, this concept is useful for Plato so that he can clarify the articulation of the cosmological structure he builds starting from his ontology. So if we want to get closer to the possibility of an understanding of this concept, we must start from the canonical Platonic division of the universe into two kinds of reality. The chora as triton genos would be first of all the link between these forms of reality. The this (see. H. Cherniss, “Selected Papers”, Brill, Leiden 1977, p. 361) is always the indeterminate from which individual sensible things can be determined from time to time. The Plato’s Timaeus example of gold as a reality that always remains the same, consistently uniform in itself, is an example that casts the thought on the scene of the eternal conflict of being and becoming—scene that immediately communicates to us echoes of fragments of Heraclitus on the relationship between fire and gold as measure of an absolute convertibility. For Plato the sensible reality always arises in someplace (en tini topo), unlike the intelligible reality which instead because does not arise nor perish need any place to manifest himself. Now, the chora should not be seen simply as the place from which everything sensible manifests itself; rather it should be considered as the very possibility of any place: that from which the place is what it is. The aim of this essay is not in a historical and philological reconstruction of these concepts, but to interact with them in contemporary reflections. Particularly we’ll see how the concepts of chora and topos have been rethought, starting from Plato, by thinkers such as Kristeva and Derrida. The reflections of these thinkers will allow us to engage in a confrontation with various disciplines: from political theory to aesthetics, from ethics to physics and cosmology. The crisis that the idea of subject lives into modernity can be clarified through these concepts, for trying to trace the constitutive elements of all aesthetic grounds.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Academy of Fine Arts of NaplesNaplesItaly

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