Beauty (19 May 2005)
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
That was John Keats' emphatic finale to his Ode on a Grecian Urn. It seems to express Plato's theory of aesthetics, his idea that an apprehension of beauty is an apprehension of perfection and that all things in our shadowy realm are botched representations of perfect 'forms' that exist elsewhere. Beauty is goodness and, for Plato, the ultimate of all the forms is 'The Good'.
But does beauty really have a moral quality? And is it inherent in things, or in the mind of the observer? How much influence have Plato's ideas had on the history of aesthetics and what has been said to counter or develop them?
Article URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20050519.shtml
(In Our Time)
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