What is the meaning of Plato’s Ion?

Is it simply knowledge vs. inspiration?
(Oct 24, 2019 03:53 AM)C C Wrote: In that Ion is an earlier expression of his ripened treatment of art in The Republic, this is a good "brief" assessment that cuts to the chase: http://users.rowan.edu/~clowney/Aestheti.../plato.htm

Ah, perfect!

Thanks, C C!

Much obliged.
The way I've understood Plato's Ion (how it was taught to me at any rate) is that Plato is contrasting artistic inspiration (which Plato distrusts) with philosophy (which he champions).

It does so by contrasting Socrates with Ion. Ion is a Rhapsode, the later Greek elaboration of what might be called a Bard, a professional teller of tales and performer of poetry. And Ion's specialty is performing Homer, who in Greece of the time was still considered the greatest of all poets and essentially the most august authority on pretty much everything. Poetry was perceived as a central source of wisdom for living life.

Ion claims that when it comes to Homer, "I am the greatest speaker of mankind", but only when the material is Homer. He can't do other epic poets half as well and is presented as being not very bright.

Socrates says, "What moves you is divine power" and uses the power of a magnet as an analogy. A magnet not only attracts pieces of metal, but confers on those pieces of metal the power to attract still more pieces of metal. In the same way, a rhapsode is inspired by 'the Muse' and when inspired can pass that divine inspiration on to others.

But this isn't a good thing in Socrates' eyes. Rhapsodes aren't masters of their subject, but rather are possessed by it. Homer is filled with that: passion to the point of madness, insane pride, blood feuds, the thrill of battle, honor, craziness, death.

In a word, rhapsodes who transmit this are ruled by their passions, instead of being masters of those same passions. In Plato's view, poetry in particular is the dangerous and socially subversive vehicle of passion, trying to provoke it at every chance.

Basically what Plato wanted to do was promote a change in the customary source of authority from divine inspiration and prophetic ecstasies on one hand, to rational and more dispassionate thought on the other.

As we see in the later (and rather totalitarian) Republic, poets were to be tightly controlled by the state and the new source of authority grounded squarely in the philosophers.
Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

I know you’re not a fan of Nietzsche but what if "Women" was a metaphor for "Life" in his Old and Young Women?

After reading his Second Dance Song, wouldn’t that make more sense?

Do you think it is possible that he’s referring to Plato’s Ion when he says, "Whom hateth woman most?—Thus spake the iron to the loadstone: "I hate thee most, because thou attractest, but art too weak to draw unto thee."?

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