Mythos and Logos

Part of the Library of the History of Psychological Theories book series (LHPT)


The distinction between what Karen Armstrong (following earlier scholars) currently refers to as mythos and logos is more familiar in other guises such as ‘art versus science’, ‘spirituality versus worldliness’ and ‘values versus facts’ (Armstrong, 1993). These, however, all lack quite the generality required, referring to facets of the polarity in question rather than the polarity itself. For current purposes the two may be characterised as follows: Mythos refers to those broad frameworks of value and meaning in terms of which we conduct and evaluate our lives and experience the universe as a whole. A mythos is not a body of empirical propositions but a way of being and experiencing. It is what gives life its point. The dominant mythos of a culture is expressed in its arts, literature, values, aspirations and rituals, providing individuals with the resources for interpreting and expressing their emotional lives and relationships with others. It is their articulation of mythos which can provide written texts such as sacred scriptures, poetry, drama and novels with such an enduring appeal, sometimes millennia after their creation.


Early Scholar Enduring Appeal Broad Framework Emotional Life Empirical Proposition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graham Richards BooksTunbridge WellsUnited Kingdom

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