Arthur C Danto

A cold and wet Saturday afternoon so time for some more reading. This is the article I set out to read a few days ago Weaving as Metaphor and Model for Political Thought by Arthur C Danto.

“Our culture rests on Greek foundations, and weaving is as much a part of our conceptual scheme today as it was in the time of Homer”

Plato uses the metaphor of weaving to describe the art of ruling and statesmanship.

“A quality of mind that is very central to the practise of an art, namely a  certain kind of creative judgement – the ability to make decisions in the absence of rules and laws…”

“the aim of state making is justice, which means, in effect, weaving together the various social virtues without allowing one more than the other to dominate.”

“The beauty of the weaving metaphor is that each move made by the weaver keeps the whole fabric in view, much like the ruling of a state. For Plato, the aim of state making is justice, which means, in effect, weaving together the various social virtues without allowing one more than the other to dominate.”

“Plato saw two basic and often opposed kinds of human materials needed to fabricate an enduring society: ‘Now just as in the case of a web or other piece of woven work, woof and warp cannot be fashioned of the same threads, but the material of the warp must be of a superior quality – it must be tough, and have a certain tenacity of character, whereas the woof may be softer and display a proper pliancy. Those to whom courage predominates will be treated by the statesman as having the firm warlike character as one might call it. The other will be used by him for what we may likewise call the woof-like strands of the web. He then sets about his task of combining and weaving together these two groups exhibiting their mutually opposed characters’.”

“We need philosophers, guardians, and producers, all of them necessary and none of them dominant in order to have a sustainable political order. And weaving naturally suggests itself as a metaphor because of the way in which these disparate but necessary elements can be held together in a whole that offers shelter, protection, and fulfilment.”

Not the lightest of readings or the most enjoyable.

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