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ISSN 2227-6017 (ONLINE), ISSN 2303-9868 (PRINT), DOI: 10.18454/IRJ.2227-6017
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Samarina E.A. et al. "THE ONTOLOGICAL EXPLICATION OF MYTH AS A PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM". Meždunarodnyj naučno-issledovatel’skij žurnal (International Research Journal) , (2020): . Thu. 13. Feb. 2020.



Самарина Е.А.1, Кириллова Р.М.2

1Аспирантка кафедры философии Сибирского Федерального университета; 2Кандидат философских наук, доцент кафедры истории, социологии и политологии Красноярского Государственного аграрного университета



В статье показывается, что в предшествующие периоды развития философских дисциплин в исследовании мифа акцент в большей мере делался на гносеологической, нежели онтологической проблематике, рассматриваются проблемы, возможности и подходы построения онтологического анализа феномена мифа.

Ключевые слова: онтология мифа; миф как форма и структура сознания; архетипическое содержание мифа.

Samarina E.A.1; Kirillova R.M.2

1Postgraduate student at the Department of philosophy of Siberian Federal University; 2candidate of philosophical Sciences, Associate Professor of history, sociology and political science Krasnoyarsk State Agricultural University



The article shows that in previous periods of development of philosophical disciplines in the study of myth focus more on gnoseological rather than ontological issues. Problems, opportunities and ways to build the ontological analysis of the phenomenon of the myth are considered in it.

Keywords: ontology of myth; myth as a form and structure of consciousness; archetypical the content of myth.

Growth of theoretical interest to a myth is caused today not only its inescapability, but also drastic contradictions in development of a modern society. Among them are especially allocated such, as impossibility of the further effective functioning of a society within the limits of technocratic model, crisis of scientifically-rational style of thinking and necessity of search new logos as which basis acts Mythos, awakening and revitalization of mythological deep layers of consciousness, artificial designing of new social both political myths and their mass duplicating. However, in modern philosophy in the presence of the big variety of approaches and methods of interpretation of a phenomenon of a myth it is not observed the consent and affinity of the points of view in its understanding. Hence, searches of methodology of an explanation of essence of a myth continue to remain actual.

The myth, as well as any form and consciousness structure can have two basic aspects for the philosophical analysis – ontological and epistemological. To consider possibilities and ways of construction of the ontological and epistemological bases of the philosophical analysis of a phenomenon of a myth is the purpose of given article.

On pages of the domestic philosophical literature the myth, as a rule, is studied in epistemological aspect, i.e. as the consciousness form. Therefore the myth gnosiology ology is developed rather more full. In numerous works the question on features of the mythological form of consciousness, its role and functions is deeply enough studied. The myth is investigated as rather independent is sensual-shaped way of knowledge and true registration, to – or parallel is rational-logic, as the narrative object given the shape of the text: the story, a legend, a parable, the literary creation, narrating about the wonderful.

All sharpness of this approach in modern philosophy consists in the proof and a substantiation of criteria of the validity of a myth. K. Hjubner, transforming a question on the validity of a myth in a plane of a substantiation of its specific rationality, declares that its decision is a call to our epoch: “While this question remains without the answer, we judge pro’s and con’s with reference to a myth on a basis more or smaller confidence and intuitive guesses. … the question about which there is here a speech, is, finally, a philosophical question, and the answer to it can be found only in philosophy sphere” [6].

Presently there is process of transformation of a myth in a simulacrum. Often it has artificial character and is connected with shaking its subject content, replacement by its images-simulations. From it there is only a form feigning its primary subject content. Especially wide scope has this process in the policy.

Especially today liberal pseudo-myths-simulacra with which the Russian public consciousness abounds are characteristic. In present conditions of domination in our country of the liberal political elite, the social and economic policy carried out in the Russian society is entirely liberal. Its independent value is consecutive reduction and destruction of social sphere. We take, for example, the next liberal pseudo-myth imposed to a society about “optimization” Russian higher education means “effective” management and reductions of high schools and PPS. The true carefully masked purposes this campaigns – contribution to capture by global business of the Russian market of educational services and liquidation in a root of competitiveness of the country. “There are fears that under the pretext of optimization of quantity (amount) of high schools and PPS and formal increase of the salary of the rest of teachers will be spent (lead) the destruction of high school system and its personnel structure. The released resources will be subjected “to privatization – cruel and ruthless” [2, 244].

As to the ontology nature of a myth directions of its analysis are caused by specificity philosophical ontology, accenting life questions (that, how, where, when, what for and why live?). Therefore the ontology aspect of a myth can be formulated in the form of a special problem and a question on what fundamental ontological bases of life of a myth. The answer to this question assumes the most general universal description of essence of a myth as concerning the complete and independent form of human life most approached to sources of essence of the person.

Attempts to make it are observed from the middle of the XIX-th century in a number of philosophical concepts. First of all, among them it is necessary to allocate ritually-sociological, and also structuralism myth concepts with which it is possible to connect the beginning of ontological turn in sights at a myth. In work «the True of a myth» marks K. Hjubner: “the Ritually-sociological concept in that kind as it has appeared in second half of last century, has presented for the first time a myth as the form of life including a complete practical reality and defining bases human communities. The given reality and the given grounds every time are described through more or less regular connection of rules of behavior which concern customs of private and public life, a social order, to the nature, to a way of life in general. As a prototype and the sample of these rules dominating in the mythical world, was ritual is taken” [6, 23].

As shows I.N. Kruglova in the research devoted to genesis of a symbol of destiny in a context of a phenomenon of sacrifice, there are two basic approaches within the limits of cultural anthropology to a problem of a parity of a myth and ritual: initial, reducing ritual to a myth and seeing in it either real event, or the belief generating of ritual practice, and later, reducing to ritual not only myths and an origin of gods, but also and other forms of culture. Just the second direction has played most a main role interpretations of a problem of a myth and ritual in modern humanitarian knowledge. [3, 90-91].

Most the prominent representatives of this approach accessible to the Russian reader, – the British scientific J.J. Freezer, B.K. Malinowski, and the French sociologists – E. Durkheim and M. Moss. According to this concept “the myth has developed gradually from rituals which are characterized more likely by the magic content, and then has merged with them in a certain unity. The given rituals were interpreted, however, in terms totemic in which basis  lay, ostensibly, the belief of the primitive person in animas’ all real and in presence blood kinship between some kinds of animals and certain human genus” [6, 23].

On the basis of extensive sociological and ethnographic researches sociologists-ritualistic prove deep link a myth in life of the person by means of ritual, a ceremony and tradition. They explain myth and ritual sources as natural spontaneous process of formation of realities of life of the person. As a result the myth has been presented for the first time as the form of life of the person, including practical activities and defining bases of functioning of human communities, shown through “regular connection of rules of behavior”, concerning customs, a social order, the nature, a way of life as a whole. Thus representatives of the given approach underline the function of a myth directed on strengthening of unity of a social community. They assert that the first problem of a myth – to provide vital comfort, and a world explanation – the second. Force of the ritually-sociological concept that it opens this truth about a myth.

However, as notices K. Hjubner, the ritually-sociological concept of a myth, despite the advantages, recognition of its universal vital reality, is limited. «In a myth her representatives see only a primitive, barbarous initial step of development of mankind on which majestic position is occupied with superstitions. Proceeding from C. Darwin and G. Spenser’s evolutionary concept, – writes K. Hjubner, – the ritually-sociological school looked at a myth as on “the bad past” person – a product of his primitive, wild and barbarous step of development. Only, ostensibly, the science protects mankind from mythical and religious prejudices” [6; 7].

Today, when, apparently, many rituals lose the existence, the society not so ritual as primitive-archaic, a substantiation of a universal reality of a myth, it deep links from being of the person by means of ritual becomes problematic. Though in “True of a myth” K. Hjubner successfully shows, how mythical structures, for example, in a holiday, rituals of a burial place of died today is shown. Besides, it is not necessary to forget about modern Christian both other religious myths and the sacred rituals connected with them.

Other direction of ontological interpretation of a myth is connected with structurally the approach, aspiring to present a myth not only as the form, but also structure of life of the person and public consciousness. One of prominent representatives and the founder of this approach is the French philosopher anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss His fundamental four-volume work “Mythologies” [4] was an original substantiation of idea that “the person always thought equally well”, and consideration myth-thinking as specific stage of development of human logic – “myth-logics”.

The concept “arche”, usually translated with Ancient Greek as “basis”, “beginning” becomes one of central in structuralism. As a matter of fact, arche are the traditions reproduced in activity and thinking of following generations. Arche it is interpreted as the most deep structure of human life and the content unconscious which form, in particular, is the myth. Arche – not only the beginning or a basis, it, more likely, – “the structurally-synthetic design of life”, which functioning provides maintenance of separate foundations of life – economic, political, social, moral.

According to this direction, cultural constants of mythical structures in the form of the archetypes serving in the way of deduction and preservation of stability of tradition, its creative development, and have not disappeared now. They form an essential component of human life. And in present period life of any ancient myth is also reproduction arche – in thinking, ritual, church chanting and any other activity which outwardly, apparently, has been not connected with it.

The forerunner structuralisms understanding of a myth was K.G. Jung’s his psychoanalytic treatment. He believed that there is a certain inherited structure mental, developing hundred thousand years which forces the person to worry and realize the life experience quite definitely. He named these structures “archetypes” which influence our thoughts, feelings, acts. K.G. Jung it is convinced that the myth is such fundamental arch-structure of human spiritual life. He aspires to find in all cultures repeating previous first images and archetypes. In spite of the fact that now they, generally, are forced out in the area unconscious, – he considers, – they again and again are reproduced, for example, in dreams or dreams.

The universal reality of a myth by means of its disclosing deep an archetypal maintenances is proved also by representatives generated around K.G. Jung of intellectual community “ARANOS” [1; 6], most known of which were Henry Corbin, George Dumezil, Mircea Eliade, Gilbert Durand, and some other.

Within the limits of this community there is a myth interpretation as numinous experience. Unlike psychoanalytic interpretation of a myth, it is philosophy-religious substantiation archetypes myth maintenances. According to such approach, the myth is expression of a reality divine. Myths, sacred rituals and ceremonies are memoirs and exact repetition by the person of fulfillments and acts in the ancient time Gods. These sacred first events are eternally present or constantly and identically repeating. Therefore the myth center is the archetype which continues to operate today, as well as in the ancient time.

The most influential of the numinous interpretation of the myth are the work of M. Eliade, in particular, “Aspects of the myth” [7]. M. Eliade traces these fundamental features of archetypal myth through the entire history of culture until today. One such sacred first event M. Eliade believes time and again playback life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. M. Eliade concludes, “…the modern human remains in at least some rudiments of “mythological behavior” [7, 190], even if it is only the focus of a non-authentic Forms. He stresses: “myths suggest that the universe, man and life have a supernatural origin and supernatural story, and that this story is important, has a high value and is a role model” [7, 29]. Therefore, he concluded, “makes people, in its present form, there is a direct result of these mythical events, he created these events” [7, 21].

Thus, in modern philosophy were such approaches and direction analysis of the ontological nature of the myth:

◦ Substantiation of myth as everyday practical reality, defining the basics of human existence through the more or less systematic communication rules, customs and rituals.

◦ Disclosure of essence myth as the fundamental structure of consciousness, displace in the archetypal depth of the unconscious, which defines the human being as a modern and archaic society. Considered as deep Arch-structure, the myth is defined as a synthetic base, constant, universal, unchanging for all times and cultures (K.G. Jung, the representatives of “ARANOS”).

◦ Consideration of space and time as the essential attributes of the mythical bases of human existence, the forms and structures of his consciousness.

Identification of the ontological nature of the myth as structure of consciousness must be through his integration of the cognitive mechanism and dedicated action of man, deploy and show the meaning and essence of the mythical.

One of the directions may also be analysis of the substantive material form’s myth, mythic images or models, integration in items of labor, everyday life, culture, and works of art.


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