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Art and education in the ideal city: the fifth essay of Proclus' In Platonis rem Publicam Commentarii

posted on 17.02.2017, 00:17 by Jayasinghe, Anuradhi
This thesis presents a close reading of the fifth essay in Proclus' commentary on the Republic. It focuses on the role of art (and in particular poetry) in education. In doing so many traditional topics are examined such as the function of mimesis and katharsis; however, many wider philosophical concerns are also addressed such as Proclus' views on the passions, ontology, rhetoric and epistemology in relation to art and education. There has been a tendency in modern scholarship, when considering Proclean aesthetics, to focus on allegorical interpretation. Since the fifth essay focuses on the role of art in education as opposed to allegory, it has largely been overlooked. This thesis highlights the philosophically interesting ideas explored within the fifth essay - for example, the role of music in education; metriopatheia and apatheia; rhetoric; the relationship between ethical character and the creation of art; and the criteria by which we ought to create and judge poetry or works of mimesis. This thesis explores the motivations behind Proclus' views and in doing so notes the places in which Proclus departs from Plato's views. It highlights the importance of the fifth essay in our understanding of Proclus' wider philosophical views and moreover, demonstrates the fifth essay's role in the reception and progression of philosophical thought.


Principal supervisor

Dirk Baltzly

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies

Campus location



Faculty of Arts