NIAS Public Lecture: "Between Dionysus and Plato: Is there aesthetic thinking in ancient Greece?” by Dr. Soumyabrata Choudhury, NIAS Lecture Hall, 4.00 PM

Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengaluru 560 012


NIAS Consciousness Studies Programme

Invites you to a Public Lecture in the


Svāsthya-rasa-bodhinī CSP Public Lecture Series




“Between Dionysus and Plato: Is there aesthetic thinking in ancient Greece?”




Dr. Soumyabrata Choudhury

School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU


Date : Wednesday, 18th September, 2019

Time : 4.00 PM (Coffee/Tea: 3.30 PM)

Venue: Lecture Hall, NIAS, IISc Campus, Bengaluru 560012


Chairperson: Dr.  Saurabh Todariya, NIAS


Abstract: This presentation will discuss the relationship between art and truth in the ancient Greek city of Athens between 7th century BC and 4th century BC. The main areas where this relationship will be investigated are poetry, theatre and the science of poetics starting with Aristotle in the 4th century. The divine figure of Dionysus will be one key reference under whose name the ancient theatre festival of the City Dionysia was held. However, the figure of Dionysus has archaic roots in Greek culture including rural religion and agricultural cults. The interesting problem arises when Plato in the 5th Century, particularly in his text The Republic measures the Dionysiac event of communitarian performance against the philosophical concept of truth. If truth is the purveyor of some sort of abstract and universal thinking and art is the actualization of something like aesthesis (which in Greek means sensation) then the logical question to arise is whether there can be any aesthetic thinking. This intense contestation to be found in Plato in the 5th century is partly displaced and moderated by Aristotle’s logic of poetics. The talk will conclude with a brief summary of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy in his Poetics – a definition which can be analyzed in terms of both its constructive part which expresses the principle of artistic production (that is, a philosophy of art) and the efficacious part which lays out a schema for the actualization of the artistic effect (that is, the schema of aesthetics).   


About the Speaker: Soumyabrata Choudhury currently teaches at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU. He has previously taught at CSSSC, Kolkata, and has been a fellow at CSDS, Delhi and IIAS, Shimla. His book Theatre, Number, Event: Three Studies on the Relationship of Sovereignty, Power and Truth was published by IIAS, Shimla in 2013. His new book Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research The programme came out last this year.



For more info write to: NIAS Consciousness Studies Programme<>

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Organised by: 
NIAS Consciousness Studies Programme
NIAS Lecture Hall