Plato's Ion: Art as an Act of Hermeneutics


HERMENEIA, no.26, pp.5-13, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 26
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Title of Journal : HERMENEIA
  • Page Numbers: pp.5-13


The dialogue Ion is one of Plato's most controversial works. The disagreements among historians of philosophy regarding this work are caused primarily by doubts about this dialogue's authenticity, which have been more or less resolved recently in favor of Plato's authorship. However, this dialogue carries within itself one even more complex and almost insoluble problem - the actual interpretation of the author's content and message. Each researcher of this work understands that Plato, through the mouth of Socrates, in this dialogue, makes a riddle for Ion and calls on him and a reader of the dialogue to solve it. However, this riddle, expressed in the myth of the Magnesian stone, is so polysemantic, consists of so many semantic layers that everyone who studies this work has the opportunity to solve it in his own way. The present article attempts to focus on the problem of the essence of art as a hermeneutic act. Plato views creativity exclusively as a hermeneutic process. For him, it is a chain of interconnected and interdependent elements, where each participant acts as an interpreter of the previous one. Plato builds an extremely ambiguous model of the creative process. The author (artist) must be simultaneously intellectually passive to perceive knowledge coming from outside through inspiration and hermeneutically active to interpret this inspired knowledge.