Myth and Politics

Term: Fall 2011

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6117

Political agents do not act exclusively on the basis of rational motivations and interests. Myths also play a crucial role in politics. What are political myths? How should we approach and evaluate them? Have they disappeared in modernity or simply taken another form? What is the difference between myth, utopia and ideology? This course addresses such questions by analysing the classical texts in the history of western philosophy that most directly addressed them. In particular, topics to be explored will include Cassirer's theory of political myth as a form of regression into primitive forms of consciousness, which will be confronted with Sorel's view of myth as a means for social progress, and Blumenberg's appraisal of the polytheism of myth.

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