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Imitation and Literature

Imitation and Literature

Imitation is a foundational concept in the creation and study of literature. The fundamental assumptions embedded in imitation create a distinct and divisive method of perception. Imitation requires a basic belief in separation: appearance apart from reality, form apart from content. Literary works possess a dual existence, where the surface becomes most useful in its ability to reveal the substance contained within. Because the truth remains concealed, it can only be discerned or discovered through imitation. Thus imitation exists as an intermediary in a variety of artistic representations, each aspiring for an accurate depiction of meaning, perhaps even the basic truths of human existence. For Plato, however, art imitates a world that is already far removed from authentic reality, Truth, an inherently flawed copy of an already imperfect world. Art as an imitation is irrelevant to what is real. Many critics since Plato have attempted to reestablish the essential value of art by redefining or renegotiating the boundaries between imitation and authentic reality, between the text itself and meaning.

From ancient to more modern critics, art is defined, vilified, or redeemed by its ability to imitate. Aristotle values imitation as a natural process of humanity. Tragedy is simply a manifestation of the human desire to imitate. He asserts that every person “learns his lesson through imitation and we observe that all men find pleasure in imitations” (44). Unlike Plato’s world of Forms, knowledge of truth and goodness are rooted in the observable universe to Aristotle. Because imitation strives to create accurate particularized images of the real world, it is a source for potential discovery and delight. Neoclassical criticism accepts as givens Aristotle’s statements about the nature of art and reality. Art is valuable precisely because it is imitative. As Sir Philip Sydney states, “Poesy is an art of imitation…with this end, to teach and delight” (137). Imitation not only entertains, but gains a moral/ethical purpose: to teach virtue. Artists must, in addition to possessing great creative skills, also bear moral responsibility for shaping their imitations. Samuel Johnson seems to revisit Plato’s attack upon art with his admission that an accurate imitation of morally questionable subject matter is not only unacceptable, but potentially harmful to those who encounter it. In order to accommodate a strong moral sense, Johnson describes imitation as a process of interpretation. “The business of a poet… is to examine, not the individual, but the species.

The Debate Concerning Stem Cell Research

Many diseases in the world today that don’t have cures, however the people inflicted with the diseases desperately need cures. Many radical scientific experiments have been used in the past to try and help cure these diseases, but it is very hard for scientists to find cures without trying new kinds of experimentation. Science is an area that’s ideas are often considered to be unethical. One of the most controversial experiments is stem cell research. The reason stem cell research is so controversial is because it is said that research plays with human life which many consider unethical. It is an idea that must be considered in order for stem cell research to continue, but just because it has been said to be unethically playing with human life, doesn’t mean that it is. Stem cell research is ethical because it can help replace bad tissue, cure diseases, and help scientists understand how the human body works.

Stem cell research is a breakthrough discovery that has only been around for a short time. Stem cells are derived from human embryos, and studies of these give scientists information about the development of humans. The primary goal in this research is to identify how undifferentiated stem cells become differentiated. A differentiated stem cell is specialized cell that a scientist as made a change to give it a different character. Basically, it’s finding out how to turn certain genes on and off. Diseases such as cancer and birth defects are caused by abnormal cell division and differentiation. The idea is to find how diseases come about and find new ways of treating them. This can only be done by looking and understanding stem cells. By understanding stem cells, scientists can begin to…

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…can really help cure diseases and repair organs, then this can be one of the biggest breakthroughs in medical history and be ethically right. It will take many years to fully develop stem cell research and to have this option available for all people, but when it is ready for the public, it will be such an boom that will save so many lives.

Works Cited

“What’s New.” Stem Cell Research Foundation. 2005. Stem Cell Research Foundation. 28 Aug. 2005 .

“AAAS Policy Brief: Stem Cell Research.” AAAS. 2004. AAAS ” Center for Science, Technology and Congress. 20 Aug. 2005 .

Stem Cell Basics. Stem Cell Information. United States. National Institute of Health. 20 Aug. 2005 .

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