Plato's Myths

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In archaic societies myths were believed to tell true stories - stories about the ultimate origin of reality. For us, on the contrary, the term 'myth' denotes a false belief. Between the archaic notion of myth and ours stands Plato's. This volume is a collection of ten studies by eminent scholars that focus on the ways in which some of Plato's most famous myths are interwoven with his philosophy. The myths discussed include the eschatological myths of the Gorgias, the Phaedo, the Republic and Laws 10, the central myths of the Phaedrus and the Statesman, and the so-called myth of the Noble Lie from the Republic. The mythical character of the Timaeus cosmology is also amply discussed. The volume also contains seventeen rare Renaissance illustrations of Platonic myths. The contributors argue that in Plato myth and philosophy are tightly bound together, despite Plato's occasional claim that they are opposed modes of discourse.