Model, Representation and Reality

  • Jean Ladrière


THE concept of model is affected by a remarkable ambiguity. In a sense, a model is a constitutive element of the “poiein”; it is the object by which the craftsman regulates his productive activity and according to which he elaborates the object he is creating. In the Timaeus,Plato describes the action of the demiurge as that of a great artist who gives shape to the world while drawing his inspiration from a model (“paradeigma”), which is presented as realizing preeminently what this world here below realizes only in an imperfect manner. The relationship between the piece of work and the model is one of similarity: the god wanted to make the visible world not just similar but “as similar as possible” (“homoiotaton”) to the intelligible model. According to this perspective, the model already exists in reality, is perfectly consistent in itself and does not demand, of itself, to be reproduced. It is the artist's decision to set this reality up as a model for something else, for an object which will be an imitation of it. In the transition from the model-reality to its image there is what might be described as a loss, a decline in perfection. The image is only a debased version of the untarnished reality of the original form.


Formal System Real Object Human Mind Symbolic Representation Ideal Object 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

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  • Jean Ladrière

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