The 3rd Asia Regional Meeting of the International Plato Society


            in PLATO

Nov. 27~29, 2020     Online Conference by Zoom Platform

Plato’s attitude towards images is ambiguous. On the one hand, there are unmistakable signs that he denounces the status of images. In the simile of the Line, he puts images in the lowest subsection. He criticizes image-makers such as poets and painters. One of his main criticisms of the sophists is also that they are image-makers. On the other hand, Plato’s dialogues are full of vivid images. He may even have thought that the use of images and imagination is an intermediate step and a necessary means for achieving the highest level of understanding. How should we account for this ambiguity?

Traditional studies on Plato’s views of image and imagination have focused mainly on the Republic and the Sophist, especially on his negative treatments of images and image-makings in them. In recent decades, however, more attention has been given to his positive views both in these dialogues and in other works such as the Timaeus and the Phaedrus. The reinterpretations of philosophical images used in his dialogues and the new questions about their ontological and epistemological status have opened up the possibility of broader and more intensive discussions on Plato’s philosophical uses of images and imagination.

With these new perspectives, we may ask a variety of questions. What exactly are the purposes and scopes of Plato’s use of images and imagination? What is Plato’s ontology and epistemology of images? Is an image of a Form something like a sensible trope? Can images be objects of “knowledge”? If language is also an image, what is it an image of? What bearings does Plato’s ontology and epistemology of images have on his views of the good life? What role, if any, does imagination play in our ethical, political, and religious life? What is the difference between Plato’s own image-makings and those which he criticizes?

In this conference, we would like to discuss broad topics related to Plato’s views on image and imagination. If you want to participate in the conference, you can register and get the zoom meeting ID by contacting us at

This conference is supported by the Institute of Greco-Roman Studies at Seoul National University, the Korean Society of Greco-Roman Studies, and the Korean Society for Western Classical Philosophy.

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