Colloquium 4 Mythological Sources of Oblivion and Memory

In: Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
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  • 1 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
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In this work, I present a selection of mythological and cultural insights from Ancient Greece that make our ambiguous relationship with memory and oblivion explicit. From Plato to Dante, or from Orphism to Nietzsche, and even today, the experiences of memory and forgetting appear as two sides of one essential nucleus in our cultural tradition in general and in the history of philosophy in particular. I intend to present a panoramic view of the main mythological sources that mention these two experiences as well as their unequal consideration. I will thus stress the personifications of both figures, taking up their features and the moral, gnoseological, and even political implications that historically have been associated with them. This is especially apparent in the strong Platonic legacy latent in the history of philosophy, where every time it insists on defining knowledge as a form of memory, the peculiar attributes of forgetting unexpectedly surface, not as a mistake or cognitive error, but as an experience which is truly saving and therapeutic.

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