Aetiological Myths – myths concerning causation
Aetiology – Philosophy of Causation
Etiology – the philosophy of causation
• Many transitions and transformations
• Phaethon is the son of Helios
• The myth of Phaethon is an aetiological myth. This is myth is a mythological explanation
of the sun rising in the East and setting in the West
• Dialectic of enlightenment: there is rationality in this explanation. There is an
intertwinement of myth and rationality.
• The sun god drives his chariot across the sky: this is an aetiological myth of the sun
moving across the sky.
• What causes the sun to rise in the east and set in the west? To the Greeks, this is
because of Helios driving his chariot with fire breathing horses from one end to the other.
• Many of these myths contain certain morals.
• Phaethon asks Helios to drive his chariot across the sky. The moral of this story is not to
be too curious about your origin. He wasn’t able to physically control the chariot, so this
resulted in disaster.
• Apollo is often named Pheobus Apollo, but Pheobus in this case is Helios.
• Phaethon is insulted that Epithis is questioning his origins.
• Pheobus reassures Phaethon that his mother was right and that he is indeed his son.
• Pheobus swears to grant Phaethon any request he wants.
• Phaethon wants to ride his chariot for one day. Phaethon does not have the significant
strength or weight to successfully do this.
• Pheobus tries to tell him to pick something else, but Phaethon insists.
• Line 165-166:
• Phaethon loses control over the chariot, and Helios instructs his son to steer the chariot
in a diagonal in the 5 zones. He says no to ride to high to the sky, or too low to the earth,
or else he will scorch the gods and earth. • 210: The Earth bursts into space. The rivers steam, the oceans lsoe their depth, the
seals float over the water
• Earth Mother calls upon Jupiter to perish by his lightning bolts instead of the ca