Theses Doctoral

A Study of Plato’s Use of Myths and its Relation to Philosophy and Moral Education

Nakazawa, Yoshiaki

The way in which Plato’s uses of myth relate to his theory of moral education and his conception of philosophy is examined. Plato’s use and conception of myth (muthos) is notoriously difficult to determine, however, especially because it is difficult to determine whether and in what way Plato wishes to contrast muthos with logos. I argue that muthos plays an integral role in Plato’s philosophical investigation and dialectic, and therefore it is best understood as a “guise” of logos. Myth is not a suspension nor transcendence of logos, as scholars have suggested. Plato uses myth when he is concerned with moral education, that is, the moral transformation of the reader and the interlocutor. According to this line of interpretation, Plato’s myths play a heuristic role in service of his moral pedagogical goals. I outline Plato’s pedagogical goals in the context of his theory of moral education, and conclude with some suggestions about the integration of philosophical myths in educational settings today.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy and Education
Thesis Advisors
Laverty, Megan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
December 18, 2015