Tragedy - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Tragedy

The two main strands in the history of philosophical reflection on tragedy, as a genre of art, can both be seen as having their origins in Plato's critique of tragic poetry in the Republic and other dialogues. It is there that we find their first sustained philosophical treatment; and with respect to this small part of it, at least, Alfred North Whitehead's characterization of the history of philosophy as a series of footnotes to Plato is not too fanciful.

Tragedy and Emotion

The second major strand in the history of the philosophy of tragedy is represented in Plato's discussion of the epistemic credentials of tragic poetry, so to speak, where he argued that the tragedian has neither knowledge nor true belief concerning that of which he writes, and (hence) that tragedy cannot be a source of knowledge. Plato's target here is the view that...

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This section contains 3,529 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
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Tragedy from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.