History and Theory 50 (3):328-340 (2011)

Abstract
ABSTRACTThis 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
Keywords Cassirer  theodicy  political thought  philosophy of history  Blumenberg  myth  Plato  symbolic forms
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2303.2011.00588.x
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