Plato’s Quarrel with the Poets

Jakub Jinek

Regarding Plato’s approach to poetry, two so far neglected points are crucial: 1) For any creative occupation, including poetry, the true criterion is the dialectical philosopher; 2) As to how radical the legal restriction of poetry will be, the political context is decisive: in the best constitution, traditional poems will be entirely replaced by philosophy; in the relatively worse constitutions, poets will be allowed as teachers of the soul, granted that their works obey the general rules given by philosophers.