The Philosophy Café

Mythology:  Stones, Birds, Snakes and Philosophical Questions 


June 30, 2014
7:30 PM ET


Used Books Department
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

This month's topic is Mythology:  Stones, Birds, Snakes and Philosophical Questions.


What is the value to philosophers of understanding mythology and storytelling?  To what extent did ancient myths provide universal answers to philosophical questions?  Or was the value of mythology that it provided an avenue for asking and exploring essential philosophical questions?  If mythology was a valuable avenue for earlier cultures to address philosophical questions, are there any equivalent structures that play this role in modern societies?  Are there contemporary versions of mythologies, folktales or popular storytelling plots that embody contemporary philosophical issues?  What are some of the questions that are effectively addressed through myth and storytelling – both in the past and in contemporary society?

Recommended Reading:  If you have time to do some reading before the Philosophy Cafe you might look at the ideas of Claude Levi-Strauss and Joseph Campbell.  The "MythNow" blog on the Joseph Campbell Foundation website also offers an ongoing source of good stories and insights. 

Claude Lévi-Strauss, 100, Dies; Altered Western Views of the ‘Primitive’  

About Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell Foundation

MythNow Blog of the Joseph Campbell Foundation

Used Books Department
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and the Adidas Store. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Event Series: Philosophy Café

The Philosophy Café is a monthly gathering meant for the informal, relaxed, philosophical discussion of topics of mutual interest to participants. No particular expertise is required to participate, only a desire to explore philosophy and its real-world applications. Each month's topic with suggested readings is posted in advance. More information can be found at

The Philosophy Café is generally held on the last Monday of each month (September through June) at 7:30 in the Used Book department on the lower level of Harvard Book Store. (Date and time subject to change.) The discussion will end at 9pm.

Space and chairs are limited. Please plan to arrive early.

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