Pia Campeggiani

Title : Emotions and pleasure: the psychophysiology of poetic experience in Plato’s Ion



This paper deals with Plato’s elaboration of the topos of the inspired poet in the Ion. After briefly discussing Plato’s inquiry into the notion of technē, I will explore the nature and function of poetic inspiration in the context of the rhapsode’s performance. I claim that inspiration consists in an imaginative process of emotional absorption and is grounded on specific modes of psychophysical stimulation, from which aesthetic pleasure stems. I also claim that the emphasis Plato puts on the somatosensory dimension of poetic experience contributes to an understanding of emotions as psychophysical experiences and represents Plato’s main argument for radicalizing the antithesis between technē and enthousiasmos.