Imitating the Myth in the Gorgias

Efren A. Alverio II


The advent of logical positivism contributed to the sharp definitional demarcation between what we consider mythical (mythos) and what we take to be a true account (logos). This essay attempts to go back to one of the sources of such a supposed distinction. By analyzing the Gorgias, I will show that even Plato did not make such a distinction. In fact, Plato even constructed a theory of justice that made use of myth as its medium. The Platonic Myth in the Gorgias was used as true logos in order to justify Socrates' use of the myth as the paradigm of a life that is philosophical in contrast to that of his accusers who espoused mere sophistry. By using the concept of historia in relation with the concept of mythos, Plato regarded the futuristic afterlife in the myth as a sufficient condition to live a just life. This sufficient condition exemplified by the Myth in the Gorgias is a measuring rod by which we can compare our present system of justice.

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