Traces of the Past: History and Myth in Vico, Benjamin and Blumenberg
thesisposted on 04.11.2019 by JAMES FRANCIS KENT
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This thesis argues that the dichotomy between ‘myth’ and ‘reason’ is untenable because myth is a primary inculcation of a rational life. This conclusion is based on the premise that myths are stories that connect individuals and communities to their pasts (both real and imagined). I offer a critique of Giambattista Vico's, Walter Benjamin's, and Hans Blumenberg's philosophical approaches to myth. All three argue that mythic stories are a locus where individuals and groups can reflect, and ‘work on’, their pasts. Myth, therefore, plays a vital role in how human beings come to orientate, and exercise, their historical, and thus rational, agency.