Art, Formalism In - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Philosophical Background

The philosophical basis of formalism is often, and typically, traced to Kant, and indeed Kant is a kind of formalist; but a much earlier formalist doctrine is to be found in Aristotle. A central thesis of Aristotle's Poetics is that plot is the most important part of tragedy. Aristotle says a tragedy customarily has six parts (plot, character, thought, diction, spectacle, and melody), and, in declaring plot the most important, he seems to be asserting that excellence of its plot contributes more to the overall excellence of a tragedy than does the excellence of any of its other parts.

Aristotle offers a number of arguments in support of his claim of the preeminent importance of plot. Two are of special interest here. One is the assertion that of all the parts, only plot is necessary to something's being a tragedy. The other is the claim...

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This section contains 1,885 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Art, Formalism In Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Art, Formalism In from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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