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Plato On The Parthenon Essay

917 words - 4 pages

Plato on the Parthenon

The philosophical ideas of Plato that relate to the Parthenon include whether the structure is an element of the Visible World or the Intelligible World. In my opinion, Plato would view the Parthenon as an object in the Visible World. The Parthenon is a one of a kind monument that is tangible and exists in our real world. The Parthenon is an architectural project and deals with forms of science and mathematics. Plato's view of science and mathematics are categorized as forms in the Intelligible World, which are intangible. Through analysis of illusory tactics, the Tripartite Soul, the simile of the line, and the artistic qualities of architecture, Plato's, as well as my view of the Parthenon will become evident.

The Parthenon was built to honor the goddess of wisdom, Athena. When structures are built using straight lines they tend to look slightly distorted due to the science of optics. The architects Iktos and Kallikretes were skilled architects of their time and they used illusory tactics to create an ideal aesthetic for The Parthenon. The architects compensated for these visual illusions by counteracting them in their design. The end result is a structure that is not composed of straight lines, but when viewed by the human eye, looks perfectly straight. Plato would have mentioned one of his famous dictums, ?That which changes least is most real.? He would have viewed Iktos and Kallikretes designs as less real than other designs that do not use illusory tactics to fool the eye. Changing the nature of contemporary construction standards would lead Plato to deem the design as a ?change? in architecture of the times. Several elements of the Parthenon follow nature-based models. The rectangular shape of The Parthenon was derived from the Golden Ratio of 5:8, which can be seen in some flowers and nautilus seashells. The drums of The Parthenon?s columns also have natural characteristics. Their diameter is similar to the height of man. Plato?s view of compensation making The Parthenon ?less real? can be contradicted with the nature based models that were used to construct it.

Plato?s view of Justice can be seen in his model of The Tripartite Soul. In this model Plato outlines 3 sectors of his ideal society. This theoretical society is composed of Guardians, Auxiliaries, and Producers. The Guardians were the upper class citizens who had the authority to pass judgment. Guardians were rational and wise, and could participate and become involved in politics. The Auxiliaries were positioned as courageous citizens who helped preserve the spirit and emotion of a society by ?protecting and serving? much like a modern day public works department or police and fire squad. In the lowest tier of Plato?s ideal society were the Producers, whose job it was to...

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