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AbysmalA Critique of Cartographic Reason$
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Gunnar Olsson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226629308

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226629322.001.0001

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(p.115) Plato
University of Chicago Press

The sign is a map, a weaving together of picture and narrative, a power-filled statement which tells us both where we are and where we should go, indicative and imperative in the same breath. Without imagination there would never be any maps, for the characteristic which maps and imaginations share in common is that they let me know not only where we are but whence we came and whither we must go. Rephrased, it is the transcendental synthesis of mapping and imagination that makes us conscious of ourselves. In search of an answer, imagination takes us straight back both to Moses and to Plato, arguably the first philosophers to formulate a comprehensive view of the relations between mind and matter, inner and outer. Plato's being is a predicative being, not an existential Being. And exactly as William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a map of horror, so Plato's Republic is a map of the Good. This chapter examines the link between Marcel Duchamp and Plato with respect to maps and cartographical reason.

Keywords:   maps, Plato, Republic, cartographical reason, Marcel Duchamp, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, imagination, mind, matter

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