chapter
17 Pages

Introduction

On the use of philosophy in the study of myths
ByKevin Schilbrack

Since antiquity, philosophers have reflected on the meaning and the truth of myths, those extraordinary accounts of primordial heroes, animals, and gods. These philosophers worked under the assumption, as did Aristotle, that human wonder and speculation about the nature of things can express themselves in a variety of ways, including myths. The central goal of this philosophical inquiry was to see whether or not there were truths about the human condition encapsulated in stories of the origin of the cosmos and humanity, of animals and culture, of sex and death. When one considers the present state of the study of myths, however, it seems that this inquiry is now over. The philosophical study of myths is today nearly nonexistent.