Calendar | Conference

Can Myth be a Resource for Critique? Phenomenological and Existential Perspectives

London, ON, 1 - 3 June 2020

Official Website


Panel planned for the 2020 meeting of the Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture / Théorie et culture existentialistes et phénoménologiques (EPTC/TCEP)

Enlightenment has long understood itself in direct opposition to myth viewed as an irrational regression that is typically also politically reactionary, and critical theory today still tends to understand itself as grounded on a decisive rupture with myth so construed. But if, as a phenomenology of horizons would suggest, there is always an outer horizon of narrative meaningfulness that conditions all experience, yet which itself never takes the form of a discursive logos, then myth may well be an inexorable feature of human consciousness, and the idea of moving beyond myth altogether, however theoretically appealing it may seem, could be the greatest ‘myth’ of all. If such is indeed the case, and if myth continues to play an unacknowledged role even in contemporary critical theory, then it strongly behooves us to regard myth as an important site of philosophical and political intervention. The key question that arises here is whether this intervention, rather than being regarded as a more resolute effort to eradicate myth, should instead be taken up as an effort to rehabilitate myth for the progressive purposes of critical theory: can myth be a resource for critique?


Seeking paper proposals (~750 words) by 31. January 2020. Complete papers (max. 30-minute reading time) would be due by 30. April 2020 to allow time for the preparation of a short commentary (accepted panelists may be asked to provide such a commentary on another paper).


Please direct inquiries, expressions of interest, and submissions to Bryan Smyth ˂˃