Skip to main content

Plato and the Mass Media

  • Chapter
  • 360 Accesses

Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)

Abstract

Book X of the Republic contains a scathing attack on poetry which is still, by turns, both incomprehensible and disturbing.1 Plato’s banishment of the poets from his model city has always been a cause of interpretative difficulties and philosophical embarrassments, even for some of his greatest admirers. But I am now beginning to believe that the difficulties are not real and that the embarrassments are only apparent, and my purpose in what follows is to offer an outline — I cannot do more than that on this occasion — of my reasons for thinking so. I am convinced that close attention to the philosophical assumptions which underlie Plato’s criticisms reveals that his attack on poetry is better understood as a specific social and historical gesture than as an attack on poetry, and especially on art, as such. But, placed within their original context, Plato’s criticisms, perhaps paradoxically, become immediately relevant to a serious contemporary debate.

Keywords

  • Mass Medium
  • Interpretative Difficulty
  • Greek Drama
  • Popular Entertainment
  • Heavy Viewer

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230368187_2
  • Chapter length: 20 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-230-36818-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  • Annas, J. (1981) Introduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Arnheim, R. (1981) ‘A Forecast of Television’ in R. P. Adler (ed.) Understanding Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Form (New York: Praeger).

    Google Scholar 

  • Barish, J. (1981) The Anti-Theatrical Prejudice (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Barnes, J. (ed.) (1984) The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Barnouw, E. (1982) Tube of Plenty: The Making of American Television, rev. edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Booth, W. C. (1989) ‘The Company we Keep: Se1f-Makmg in Imagrnative Art’, Daedalus, 111, 33–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cater, D. (1981) ‘Television and Thinking People’ in R. P. Adler (ed.) Understanding Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Form (New York: Praeger).

    Google Scholar 

  • Cavell, S. (1982) ‘The Fact of Television’, Daedalus, 111, 75–96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cawelti, J. G. (1976) Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Collins, R. K. L. (1987) ‘TV Subverts the First Amendment’, The New York Times, 19 September.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, J. M. (1986) ‘Plato, Isocrates, and Cicero on the Independence of Oratory from Philosophy’ in J. J. Cleary (ed.) Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, Vol. 1 (Washington, DC: University Press of America).

    Google Scholar 

  • Danto, A. C. (1986a) ‘Art and Disturbation’ in The Philosophical Dsenfranchisement of Art (New York: Columbia University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Danto, A. C. (1986b) ‘Philosophy as/and/of Literature’ in The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (New York: Columbia University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Else, G. F. (1972) The Structure and Date of Book 10 of Plato’s Republic (Heidelberg: Abhandlungen der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse; Jahrg. 1972, 3. Abhandlung).

    Google Scholar 

  • Else, G. F. (1986) Plato and Aristotle on Poetry (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Esslin, M. (1981) The Age of Television (New York: Freeman and Company).

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferrari, G. R. F. (1989) ‘Plato and Poetry’ in G. A. Kennedy (ed.) The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism; Vol. 1, Classical Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Gerbner, G. and L. Gross (1976) ‘The Scary World of TV’s Heavy Viewer’, Psychology Today, 10 (4), 41–89.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldhill, S. (1985) Reading Greek Tragedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Grube, G. (trans.) (1974) Plato: Republic (Indianapolis: Hackett).

    Google Scholar 

  • Halliwell, S. (1986) Aristotle’s Poetics (London: Duckworth).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kristeller, P. O. (1951–2) ‘The Modern System of the Arts’, Journal of the History of Ideas, XII, 496–527 and XIII, 17–46.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lucas, D. W. (1968) Aristotle: Poetics (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Mander, J. (1978) Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (New York: Morrow Quill).

    Google Scholar 

  • Nehamas, A. (1982) ‘Plato on Imitation and Poetry in Republic 10’ in J. Moravcsik and P. Temko (eds) Plato on Beauty, Wisdom, and the Arts (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield).

    Google Scholar 

  • Nehamas, A. (1988) [Untitled Review], The Journal of Philosophy, LXXXV, 214–19.

    Google Scholar 

  • Novak, M. (1981) ‘Television Shapes the Soul’ in R. P. Adler (ed.) Understanding Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Form (New York: Praeger).

    Google Scholar 

  • Pickard-Cambridge, A. (1946) The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Pickard-Cambridge, A. (1968) The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, 2nd edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Postman, N. (1985) Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Viking Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Radway, J. A. (1984) Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Thornburn, D. (1981) ‘Television Melodrama’ in R. P. Adler (ed.) Understanding Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Form (New York: Praeger).

    Google Scholar 

  • Walcot, P. (1976) Greek Drama in Its Theatrical and Social Context (Cardiff: University of Wales Press).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2012 Alexander Nehamas

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Nehamas, A. (2012). Plato and the Mass Media. In: Denham, A.E. (eds) Plato on Art and Beauty. Philosophers in Depth. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230368187_2

Download citation