Philosophy, Myths and Fairy Tales

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Philosophy, Myths and Fairy Tales

<p>From Socratic interrogation to analytic philosophy, western philosophers are often expected to dissociate themselves from religion and myth. This course challenges this notion, by looking at

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From Socratic interrogation to analytic philosophy, western philosophers are often expected to dissociate themselves from religion and myth. This course challenges this notion, by looking at philosophers who thought differently as well as writers of fairy tales.


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Myth in Pre-Socratic Philosophy and Socratic Philosophy. Pre-Socratic philosophers tended to pass on their wisdom via myths and sacred stories.
  • German Romanticism, Myth and Fairytales This lesson focuses on how German philosophy reframed myth and how fairy tales were used as a sort of contemporary exploration of mythic and Romantic themes. This class will particularly focus Hoffmann’s The Sandman.
  • Kleist on the Marionette Theatre. Kleist explores philosophical themes through parable and ideas again of mechanism and romanticism with respect to the notion of original sin.
  • Nietzsche’s use of Myth. Nietzsche is known for his framing of the Übermensch and his use of philosophical fables. This lesson will particularly focus on his idea of the demon, and the dwarf as a way of framing notions of time. We will also try to examine the image of the dwarf in relation to Walter Benjamin’s description of the puppet and the dwarf.
  • Franz Kafka. This lesson we will examine the philosophical insights in Franz Kafka in relation to fairy tales. We will also examine the high esteem that Kafka was held in, in relation to philosophy.
  • Science Fiction in Postmodernism and Analytic Philosophy. Analytic philosophy is known for logical rigour, yet part of this rigour depends very often on thought experiments. Thought experiments are used to clarify issues and often entail imagination and may sometimes involve borrowing from science fiction. Postmodern philosophers often have deconstructed the idea of myth and argued that myth is part of our understanding of the world. This lesson we will look at myth in contemporary philosophy but we will also examine science fiction as a type of philosophical thought experiment, especially with regards to utopia and dystopia. We will particularly focus on science fiction in relation to gender.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Form a deeper understanding of the sometimes agonistic relationship between myth and philosophy.
  2. Examine some of the more philosophical works of German literature.
  3. Gain an overview of current philosophical tendencies.