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Journal Article

MYTH IN HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY AS MYTH: ON THE AMBIVALENCE OF HANS BLUMENBERG'S INTERPRETATION OF ERNST CASSIRER'S THEORY OF MYTH

JEFFREY ANDREW BARASH
History and Theory
Vol. 50, No. 3 (October 2011), pp. 328-340
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41300098
Page Count: 13
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MYTH IN HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY AS MYTH: ON THE AMBIVALENCE OF HANS BLUMENBERG'S INTERPRETATION OF ERNST CASSIRER'S THEORY OF MYTH
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Abstract

This essay explores the different interpretations proposed by Ernst Cassirer and Hans Blumenberg of the relation between Platonic philosophy and myth as a means of bringing to light a fundamental divergence in their respective conceptions of what precisely myth is. It attempts to show that their conceptions of myth are closely related to their respective assumptions concerning the historical significance of myth and regarding the sense of history more generally. Their divergent conceptions of myth and of history, I argue, are at the same time not simply matters of abstract speculation, but spring from fundamental presuppositions concerning myth's political significance. The present elucidation aims not only to set in relief one or another of the ways in which Cassirer or Blumenberg understood myth, nor even to present Blumenberg's critical reception of Cassirer's theories, but above all to contribute to the interpretation of the political implications of myth and of its historical potency in our contemporary epoch.

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