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Once again, Stranger, you are—in a sort of a way—disparaging our lawgivers.Athenian
It is not intentionally, my friend, that I do so—if I am doing it but whither the argument leads us, thither, if you please, let us go. If we know of a music that is superior to that of the choirs or to that of the public theaters, [667b] let us try to supply it to those men who, as we said, are ashamed of the latter, yet are eager to take a part in that music which is noblest.Clinias
1 Now, in the first place, must it not be true of everything which possesses charm as its concomitant, that its most important element is either this charm in itself, or some form of correctness, or, thirdly, utility? For instance, meat and drink and nutriment in general have, as I say, for concomitant that charm which we should term pleasure; [667c] but as regards their correctness and utility, what we call the wholesomeness of each article administered is precisely the most perfect element they contain.Clinias
Learning, too, is accompanied by the element of charm, which is pleasure; but that which produces its correctness and utility, its goodness and nobleness, is truth.Clinias
Quite so. [667d] Athenian
Then how about the imitative arts which produce likenesses? If they succeed in their productions, should not any concomitant pleasure which results therefrom be most properly called “charm”?Clinias
But, speaking generally, the correctness of these things would be the result not, primarily, of pleasure, but of equality in respect of both quality and quantity.2Clinias
Then we shall rightly judge by the criterion of pleasure [667e] that object only which, in its effects, produces neither utility nor truth nor similarity, nor yet harm, and which exists solely for the sake of the concomitant element of charm,—which element will best be named “pleasure” whenever it is accompanied by none of the other qualities mentioned.Clinias
You mean only harmless pleasure.Athenian
Yes, and I say that this same pleasure is also play, whenever the harm or good it does is negligible.Clinias
Should we not then assert, as a corollary, that no imitation should be judged by the criterion of pleasure
1 The following passage (down to 669 B) deals with the considerations of which a competent judge must take account in the sphere of music and art. He must have regard to three things—“correctness” (the truth of the copy to the original), moral effect or “utility,” and “charm” or pleasure. Though this last, by itself, is no criterion of artistic excellence, it is a natural “concomitant” (in the mind of the competent judge) when the work of art in question possesses a high degree of both “utility” and “correctness.”
2 i.e. a “likeness” must be “equal” to its original both in character and size.
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