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History of Philosophy Colloquium with Stephen Halliwell

When:Th 10-06-2021 16:00 - 18:00

The History of Philosophy group (Utrecht University) cordially invites you to an upcoming talk by professor Stephen Halliwell (St Andrews) on "Metaphorical Mirrors: Aesthetic Reflections from Plato to Nietzsche".


This paper will explore some of the complex ways in which mirror metaphors/analogies have been employed to characterise deeply opposed aesthetic theories of artistic representation and expression. The mirror as a negative trope for the supposedly derivative nature of artistic depiction is especially associated with a passage in Book 10 of Plato’s Republic whose influence has been both longlasting and controversial. But both in antiquity and later the metaphor of the mirror became associated with very different aesthetic conceptions and purposes. Paradoxically, and contrary to a standard account, the metaphor of the mirror has proved to have value for both realist and idealist theories of art, and for aesthetic conceptions of both truth and illusion. How can that be? In order to clarify the shifting and competing uses of this archetypal analogy in aesthetics, this paper will document and analyse a selection of pertinent texts from Plato to Nietzsche (and beyond), arguing in part that the mirror trope illustrates how the history of aesthetics has often involved a dialectic between versions of Platonism and ‘inverted Platonism’.  


If you would like to join us, please send an email to c.cecconi by the 9th of June to receive the link to this event.