Chapter

<i>Muthos</i> and <i>Philosophia</i>

in How Philosophers Saved Myths

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780226075358
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226075389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226075389.003.0002
Muthos and Philosophia

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This chapter describes the emergence and expansion of what is at present called “philosophy” in ancient Greece. The emergence of philosophy can be linked with the introduction, a few centuries earlier, of a new system of writing. In the context of ancient Greek civilization, where there was no priestly class invested with the dual role of maintaining tradition and insuring the conformity of social behavior to this tradition, a play of mirrors could be maintained only if myth kept on adapting to public expectations. The myths portrayed actions and attitudes that were anachronistic and even shocking to a Greek of the classical period or one of the end of the archaic age. The use of allegory by some philosophers will be inclined toward a reappropriation of the collective memory; yet to accomplish this goal they will have to start giving more value than Plato did to the opinion of the majority.

Keywords: philosophy; Greece; writing; Greek civilization; tradition; social behavior; myth; allegory

Chapter.  4233 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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