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The Stoic Theory of Beauty$
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Aiste Celkyte

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474461610

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474461610.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

The Stoic Definition of Beauty as Summetria

The Stoic Definition of Beauty as Summetria

(p.144) 6 The Stoic Definition of Beauty as Summetria
The Stoic Theory of Beauty

Aistė Čelkytė

Edinburgh University Press

The chapter is dedicated to the Stoic definition of beauty as summetria. The definition theories beauty as a property that supervenes on the composition of non-aesthetic properties. In addition to the analysis of the definition itself, the chapter also discusses the criticism that Plotinus levelled at the Stoic definition of beauty, namely, that their theory cannot account for why a well-organised virtue, but not a well-organised vice, possesses beauty. It is suggestion that the notion of functional composition, which emerged from discussions on previous chapters, would afford the Stoics a response to this Plotinian critique. The Stoic definition of beauty is best understood as the claim that aesthetic properties supervene on two aspects of an object: (i) the formal properties of the object (summetria of parts with each other) and (ii) the functional properties of the object (summetria of parts with the whole). The definition states that in order for an object to be beautiful, it must possess a harmonious composition for the kind of object that it is.

Keywords:   Stoicism, Summetria, Plotinus, Aesthetic functionality

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