This book surveys selected modern theories of myth from philosophy, religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychoanalysis to demonstrate a common commitment to a dualistic ontology and/or epistemology. With help from the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michael Polanyi, the author proposes a new theory of myth which goes beyond these dualisms. It argues that although the Enlightenment sought to banish myth, it was itself animated by myths which it could neither recognize nor accredit. Moreover, it argues that myth is a primordial, articulate grasp of the life-world and is essential for providing a fundamental orientation to all human activities, including theorizing. The myths of Timaeus and Genesis are shown tacitly to shape modernity's most sophisticated theories in science and philosophy, including the criteria for truth.
Milton Scarborough is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Centre College.
"This book is an important voice in the current debate about the implications of pluralism, relativism, and nihilism for the culture and for the educational enterprise. But the fundamental contribution of the book is its hypothesis about how we think. " — William Elford Rogers, Furman University