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The history of aesthetics and mimesis can be traced as far back as the Pre-Socratic period (Halliwell 15). This presupposition does not negate the fact that some historians consider the formal beginning of aesthetics started with Vico or Kant (Halliwell 30)…
This, despite the fact, that Baumgarten coined the term in 1735. Rather, it intends to raise the notion that mimesis and aesthetics have been considered as an integral in understanding both the human nature and the human condition in the story of humanity. In this context, mimesis and aesthetics draw us towards the notion that there is sustained effort in understanding the relationship between arts, society and humanity, as there is a continuing attempt to grasp beauty, forms, myth and structures in and through the arts. In this regard, Plato is no different from other eminent thinkers. In The Republic, Plato has provided one of sharpest arguments against mimesis and arts to the point that Plato proposed the position that the arts should be banned in the city (392a-401e; 595a). Plato’s concept of mimesis is complex (Cohn 45). However, it has been valuated as negative towards the arts (Schipper 200). Nonetheless, despite the seeming negative judgment to Plato’s stand, Plato is correct in ascertaining that any forms of mimetic arts should be prohibited. As the purpose of this paper is to create a deeper understanding mimesis vis-a-vis arts, it will attempt to address the following questions. First, what are the notions of mimesis relevant to arts? Second, what are the roles of imagination and play in mimetic exploration? Third, what is the value (or harm) of mimetic exploration? Finally, what is its connection to aesthetic value of a work of art? Recognizing the enormous academic literatures related to the subject matter, the study would focus on Plato’s theory of mimesis. ...
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