„Mythic Consciousness and Matriarchal Theories” – invitation for the seminar conducted by prof. Randall Auxier

4 Lut, 2017; Aktualności Ogłoszenia Wykłady gościnne

Department of Philosophy of Culture (IF UW) and the coordinator of Warsaw International Studies in Philosophy invite for the seminar
Mythic Consciousness and Matriarchal Theories
The seminar will be conducted by
Prof. Randall Auxier
(Southern Illinois University)

Human consciousness and human culture develop together. The activities of human beings create alterations in the objective living conditions, and human consciousness then „lives its way into” the newly formed reality and builds upon it. The “master key” to this process is imagination. Given what we have created, it is evident that human beings find ways to reach forward into the possible, into the future, and to give structure and meaning to possibilities that are not yet actual, and then to act in ways that bring the imagined possibilities into concrete being. How do human beings imagine what is not present to them, what might be, but is not? We will study this process, its structure, its genesis, and its importance, with special focus upon the pivotal role played by myth-making. The origins of human consciousness in myth are notoriously difficult to study and must confront the contention, argued by many, that the form of human consciousness that creates civilization is predominantly feminine, or based on mother-love, or even matriarchal.

The mystery surrounds the origin of reflection and the reversal of reflection and expression in the decline of pre-historic (perhaps matriarchal) civilization, and the emergence, over thousands of years, of the form of civilization dominated by reflection that is now called „patriarchal” by some. It is my contention that all the cultural functions of imagination have a basis in mythic consciousness (although I don’t say they are reducible to it, nor do I claim that imagination is the sole cognitive power in modern humans). Mythic consciousness projects imagination into the possible. I argue that reason itself is a highly refined imaginative function, as is memory. Understanding and judgment appear to be independent of imagination per se, in modern humans, and to arise in connection with the power of reflection. Thus, an ontology of the power of reflection is crucial to grasping mythic consciousness. Reflection and mythic expression appear to exist in a creative tension.

Selected Readings:
G. Vico, The New Science (1744).
D. P. Verene, Vico’s Science of Imagination
I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
I.  Kant, Critique of Judgment
F.W.J. Schelling, Historical-critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology
J. J. Bachofen, Myth, Religion, and Mother Right
E. Neumann, The Great Mother: An Analysis of an Archetype
F. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music
E. Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms
S. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key
P. Hadot, The Veil of Isis: An Essay on the History and Idea of Nature
P. Sloterdijk, Spheres, Volume 1, Microspherology: Bubbles
L. Irigaray, je, tu, nous: Toward a Culture of Difference,

Randall Auxier is a Professor of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University. Among his research interests are philosophy of culture (including popular culture), aesthetics, process philosophy and theology, post-Kantian continental philosophy, pragmatism. His publications include: Time, Will and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce (Chicago, Open Court, 2013), The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead’s Radical Empiricism (with Gary L. Herstin) (forthcoming in Routledge) and numerous articles on Vico, Bergson, Cassirer, Langer, Whitehead.

Time:  21.03. – 18.05.2017

every Tuesday 3pm – 6pm (Institute of Philosophy, room 102)
every Thursday 5pm – 8pm (Institute of Philosophy, room 108)

Number of hours: 60

Credit allocation: 6 ECTS

Contact: dr Przemysław Bursztyka (pbursztyka@uw.edu.pl)

More information and the full description are available at:

All interested (not only students) are welcome.