Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Dr. John Verheide


This thesis interrogates the concept of mythology within the opposing philosophical frameworks of the world as either an abstract totality from which ‘truth’ is derived, or as a chaotic background to which the subject brings a synthetic unity. Chapter One compares the culturally dominant, classical philosophical picture of the world as a necessary, knowable totality, with the more recent conception of the ‘world’ as a series of ideational repetitions (sense) grafted on to material flows emanating from a chaotic background (non-sense). Drawing on Plato, Kant, and Heidegger, I situate mythology as a conception of the false—that which fails to correlate with the ‘world’ as a necessary whole. Working with Deleuze, I reconsider the conception of mythology from the perspective of absolute contingency—mythology as a set of reductive rules or principles which, rather than apprehending the world in its hiddenness, instead constitute the world as a series of repetitive, but ultimately ideational subjective objects grafted on to a background chaos.

Chapter Two examines mythology within the perspective of what Deleuze refers to as the aleatory moment (the conditions of chance contained within every sensuous ontic encounter). Here I introduce the concept of the aleatory circle—an ontically necessary foreclosure of the conditions of possibility (the multiplicity) contained in every sensuous encounter (or ‘event’). I compare the rules of the game with the ontically necessary opening of the conditions of possibility (the aleatory moment or point of chance) and its necessary foreclosure as dictated by the rules of time and space. Here I introduce the concept of the mythological apparatus—a framework of ideational rules derived from the repetitions of the aleatory circle encountered by the subject in its sensuous mode. The myth apparatus is, in my view, both constitutive of, and constituted by, the ‘world’, governing the position of the subject within a framework established by ontic repetition.