Myth and Modernity: Postcritical Reflections

Myth and Modernity: Postcritical Reflections

by Milton Scarborough
     
 

This book surveys selected modern theories of myth from philosophy, religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychoanalysis to demonstrate a common commitment to a dualistic ontology and/or epistemology. With help from the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michael Polanyi, the author proposes a new theory of myth that goes beyond these dualisms. It argues that although… See more details below

Overview

This book surveys selected modern theories of myth from philosophy, religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychoanalysis to demonstrate a common commitment to a dualistic ontology and/or epistemology. With help from the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michael Polanyi, the author proposes a new theory of myth that goes beyond these dualisms. It argues that although the Enlightenment sought to banish myth, it was itself animated by myths that it could neither recognize nor accredit. Moreover, it argues that myth is a primordial, articulate grasp of the lifeworld and is essential for providing a fundamental orientation to all human activities, including theorizing. The myths of Timaeus and Genesis are shown tacitly to shape modernity's most sophisticated theories in science and philosophy, including the criteria for truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791418796
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
07/01/1994
Series:
SUNY series, The Margins of Literature Series
Pages:
161

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1Modernity and the Crisis of Myth1
Ch. 2Modernity on Myth9
The Nature of Modernity10
Modernity and Myth12
Max Mueller: Myth as Explanation for Aryan Metaphors14
The English Anthropologists: Myth as Animism, Totemism, and Magic15
Bronislaw Malinowski: Myth as Social Charter17
C. S. Lewis: Myth as Fable and Fact18
Ernst Cassirer: Myth as an Organ of Self-Revelation20
Claude Levi-Strauss: Myth as Mediator between Culture and Nature21
Rudolf Bultmann: Myths as Possibilities for Human Existence23
Sigmund Freud: Myth as Repressed Libido24
Carl Jung: Myth as Archtypal Meaning24
Problems with Modern Myth Theories26
Ch. 3Myth at the Margins of Modernity33
Myth at the Margins of Modern thought33
Mircea Eliade: Myths as Collective Participation in Common Symbols33
Taylor Stevenson: History as Myth34
Michael Novak: Myths as Guiding Images, Symbols, and Values35
Myth at the Margins of Scientific Thought37
Harvey Cox: Genesis as the Disenchantment of Nature37
Stephen Toulmin: Myth as the Misuse of Scientific Results38
Michael Foster: Myths as Determinants of Scientific Method39
Langdon Gilkey: Myths as Multivalent Symbols of the Transcendent41
Edward Maziarz: Myth and Science as Formal Symbolic Structures43
Ch. 4Myth in the Heart of Modernity47
The Timaeus48
Genesis51
Timaeus versus Genesis53
Big Bang versus Steady State Cosmology54
Essentialism versus Existentialism: Anthropology56
Phenomenology versus History of Religions: Methodology58
Covering Law versus Continuous Series Explanations: The Logic of Scientific Explanation60
Myth versus History in Barthes' Structural Linguistics63
The Tacit Dimension66
Timaeus versus Genesis in Historical Perspective71
Ch. 5Toward a Postcritical Understanding of Myth75
Contemporary Physics and Cartesian Dualism76
The Wave-Particle Dualism and Scientific Representation76
The Uncertainty Principle77
Goedel's Proof78
The Phenomenological Turn79
The Nature of Myth84
Myth and Truth106
The Truth of Myth in General107
The Truth of the Timaeus and Genesis113
Ch. 6Epilogue119
The Visual Imagination119
Naming the Nomad125
Notes135
Index145

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