16 Jan 2009

Philosophy's Perpetual Call to Transgress the Limits of Its Mythological Origins by Means of Metaphor, in Martin Moors' Mythos and Logos course

summarization of Moors' ideas, by Corry Shores
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Development in metaphysical thought requires we critique it, which means we find those limits indicating what lies before philosophical thought, at its origin. This is myth. So the call to renew philosophy is a calling-back to its mythical origins.

There is no philosophy without presuppositions, and critical thinking examines and evaluates presuppositions. So for philosophers to critique philosophy, they must go back to its mythical origins to find out what its fundamental presuppositions are.

Because the task of philosophy is continually to renew it, philosophers are perpetually called back to philosophy's mythical origins.

Mythology is a proto-form of philosophical thinking, because it tries to account for things. Mythology tries to find causes for effects. Human suffering, guilt, and vulnerability are accounted-for by means of the myth of the fall from paradise. So mythology is a logos, but a mytho-logos. There is a logic to mythology that is the proto-form of philosophy's logic.

Philosophy makes a critical move to its mythical origin, thereby transgressing its internal limits.

Consider for example Kant's discussion of substance. What appears to us are accidents. Something else underlies these accidents, and that is substance.

Mythical thought operates by means of metaphor. We see also in the term substance a mythological spatial metaphor: lying under. So Kant returns to philosophy's mythical origin by critiquing the way philosophy thinks about substance. At root, philosophy looks at substance mythologically, as a primeval spatiality, a lying-under. And this lying under accounts for all things in the world, just as myths about God account for all things in the world.

[Taken from the second lecture of Professor Martin Moors Philosophy of Being 2008 course: "From Mythos to Logos - From Logos to Mythos," at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Professor Moors is not just a remarkably gifted instructor, he is as well a renowned metaphysician and Kant scholar. His publication list is available here.

The ideas I here present are not my property, but belong to Prof. Moors. A suggested citation:

Moors, Martin. "From Mythos to Logos - From Logos to Mythos: Class 2." Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. 02-Oct-2008.

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