Philosophy and Mythology

Term: Fall 2008

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6624

This seminar will be devoted to a reconstruction of the often neglected fact that the occidental �logos� arises out of a systematic denial of its mythological origin. From Presocratic metaphysics onwards philosophy has tried to establish its autonomy by dispelling mythological images and narrative structures from the purely logical space of the �polis�. This movement was radicalized in the due course of modern philosophy. However, romanticism rediscovered the fundamental mythological and, therefore, imaginary heteronomy of the subject. In this seminar we will first analyze the function of the concept of a �new mythology� (in Schlegel, H�lderlin and Schelling) qua meta-critical movement against the possibility of an entirely lucid self-constitution of the subject. We will then discuss the mythological institution of psychoanalysis on the basis of texts by Freud, Jung and Wittgenstein. We will also consider texts by Heidegger (in particular on �the thing�) which can be read as mytho-poiesis. Eventually we will discuss the relation between mythology and the social imaginary according to Castoriadis. The aim of the seminar is to discuss the prospects of a critical self-limitation of �logos� by a paradoxical insight into its mythological heteronomy.

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