The Myth of Mitys and the Nature of Narratives

Enrico Terrone (LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy, Barcelona)
Practical information
11 February 2019
9h30 - 11h

ENS, Pavillon Jardin, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris 


Carroll (2001, 2007) conceives of narratives as representations of events that involve causal connections. Yet, as pointed out by Velleman (2003) and Currie (2006) this view is challenged by a case proposed by Aristotle: Mitys was killed and then one day his statue accidentally felt down killing his killer. Although there is no relevant causal connection between the assassination of Myth and the death of his killer, the "myth of Mitys" looks like a sort of narrative. I shall argue that this depends on another key feature of narratives, namely, teleology: the statue felt down not *because of* the assassination of Mitys but rather *with the alleged aim of* avenging it. I shall show that paradigmatic narratives are governed by a teleological closure that affects causal connections. However, I shall contend, there can be non-paradigmatic narratives exhibiting either causation without teleology or teleology without causation. I shall conclude that the "myth of Mitys" is of the latter kind.