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  • Plato’s Use of Myth
  • M. D. C. Tait


I have to acknowledge indebtedness for stimulating suggestion in particular to the following: Georges Gusdorf, Mythe et Philosophie, and Gerhard Krüger, Einsicht und Leidenschaft: Das Wesen des Platonischen Denkens. To the latter, itself a work full of insight, I only wish that my obligation could have been greater.

1. Gilson, God and Philosophy, 4.

2. Even for the primitive myth-maker, of course, the given is not merely given. In itself myth is, as E. Cassirer has shown, a form-giving principle or function of the mind, with a status of its own, side by side with the categories of the scientific understanding. The contrast in the text is drawn only between the mythical world as instinctively apprehended by the primitive intelligence and as more consciously and deliberately structured by the poet in literary composition.

3. Odyssey VIII. 499.

4. Ion 534c.

5. Ibid. 534cd.

6. In English Critical Essays, Nineteenth Century (World’s Classics ed.), 156.

7. Rilke, Briefe aus Muzot, 195.

8. Symposium 216de.

9. Symposium 212b.

10. For the expression, used of Socrates, cf. Symposium 216d.

11. Phaedrus 265a.

12. Phaedrus 246d.

13. Phaedrus 265c.

14. Phaedrus 276d.

15. Phaedo 114d.

16. M. R. Foster, The Political Philosophies of Plato and Hegel, 58.

17. Cf. Sophist 248e.

18. De Anima 429b9 and Metaphysics 1074b34–36.

19. Metaphysics 1034a5–8.

20. Republic 614d.

21. Cf. H. R. MacCallum’s essay “Myth and Intelligence,” in Imitation and Design (Toronto, 1953), 106–10.



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