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One trouble with pretending to be someone or something else is that there is no stopping it. For Plato, the act of pretending rapidly runs down through a sexist chain of being from men to women to animals to inanimate objects, in a crescendo of degradation. Socrates’s affirmation of this terrible danger in poetry is the classic condemnation of imitation in the Western tradition. Imitation is a species of dehumanizing or unmanning (!) madness. Poetry, for Plato, has authority all right, but it is the authority of radical evil. Therefore the poets must be banished from his ideal republic.

I don't know in this context classic mean: traditional or typical or admired?

This passage is from a book named: On literature.

closed as primarily opinion-based by user070221, M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ, ColleenV Jan 8 at 14:39

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When something is "the classic {something}" it is the quintessential example of {something} or "the canonical example" of it.

Let's say that a person has a reputation for liking things to be very tidy. Let's call her Colleen since that's a convenient female name already present on this page and this example needs a woman's name. "Colleen" is invited to the home of her boyfriend, to meet his parents. No sooner is she in the door when she starts to rearrange the figurines on the mantelpiece.

The boyfriend might shrug helplessly and say:

That's classic Colleen.

He might speak about Colleen's penchant for tidiness from time to time over the course of their relationship, and may refer back to that occasion as the "classic case of tidying up":

That time at my parents house when Colleen started to rearrange the figurines on the mantelpiece is the classic case.

No other example of her desire to make things tidy surpasses that one. It is her boyfriend's "go to" story when he wants to speak of this aspect of her personality.

  • Lots of thanks. so does the cited sentence mean: in the western tradition, Socrates’s affirmation of this terrible danger in poetry shows that imitation is typically condemned. – Viser Hashemi Jan 2 at 18:02
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    No, it does not mean that imitation "is typically condemned". Rather, it means that of all of the condemnations of poetry as an "imitative" art which one might find in the Western tradition, this one by Socrates is the canonical one. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 2 at 18:07
  • Dose "canonical" mean: scientifically or academically – Viser Hashemi Jan 2 at 20:42
  • Dose "canonical" mean: scientifically – Viser Hashemi Jan 2 at 20:42
  • Is philosophy a science? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 2 at 21:06

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