My research is concerned with answering the question: can there be a role for myth in political theory?
Political myths are narratives about political events or conditions that are taken for granted, and are not readily susceptible to critical evaluation. They are important for political thinking insofar as they affect how we perceive our political environment, which in turn affects the decisions we make in it.
Plato and the Mythic Tradition in Political Thought examines a tradition of political thinkers who sought to understand the place of myth in politics, and who in particular turned to Plato for guidance in their efforts. At different junctures in the history of the reception of Plato, the myths that Plato wrote inspired both imitation as well as theorizing on the place of myth in political philosophy. If Plato has long been celebrated for making reasoned argument the foundation of philosophy, my work traces an alternative tradition of Platonism based on his use of myth. In turn, the historical reception of Plato’s myths and the role they play in his philosophical writings opens up a wider discourse on the role of mythology in political thought. A list of the chapters I've presented at various venues can be found here.
Beyond my dissertation research, I am continuing my studies of political myth more generally, and of the ways in which examining political myth philosophically can help us better understand problems in contemporary politics.
image: William Blake, The Ghost of a Flea