Difference Between Myth and Philosophy

What is the difference between myth and philosophy? The myth arose as narratives of ancient Greek peoples to explain phenomena of nature that they could not comprehend. It was and is usually used to explain the origin of events. Philosophy is the study and reflection of issues related to human existence. It also reflects on knowledge, moral and aesthetic values, thought and language.

What is myth?

The concept of myth is based on the idea that the ancient Greeks created narratives to explain events and phenomena of nature that they could not understand.

It is also important to mention that a myth, in most cases, can have a true background, based on a real event. So, with the passing of time and narrative through oral tradition, it would have become a story with fantastic ares.

However, a myth does not mean a “fairy tale.” This is because it carries in between the lines the explanation for phenomena related to human existence.

The myths sought to express the meaning of things in a time that science still could not explain them. So a myth is more than a fictional narrative.

It is common for the word to be used as a synonym for legend, but in general a myth can also refer to historical events. This is filled with symbolism and importance for a particular group of people.

Examples of Myths

The most famous myths emerged in Greek antiquity. At that time, the gods were used to represent various aspects of life and the planet. As an example, we will cite two Greek myths:


In history, the character Pandora had won a box of the father of the gods, which was forbidden to open.


Moved by his curiosity, Pandora opens the box and ends up releasing all the evils in the world: diseases, wars, old age, hatred, jealousy, etc. Repounded immediately, Pandora closes the box, but it was too late.

The only thing left at the bottom of the box was something small: hope.

The moral of history: despite all evils, having hope always kept in the heart, however small, is a sign that everything can be different. After all, something can be done by those corrupted by the terrors out of the box.


The son of Zeus with a mortal unleashed a sickly jealousy in Hera, the wife of the god of the gods. Therefore, Hera, the goddess of marriages, motherhood and wives, went on to pursue the demigod in a ferrenha manner.

In one of the episodes where Hercules loses his head because of Hera, the hero ends up killing his own wife and his own children. To redeem himself from this dreadful feat, Hercules is then instilled to perform 12 works. They were:

  • Slay the greatest lion in the world, the Lion of Nemeia;
  • Kill the monstrous hydra of Lerna;
  • Capture the Corça de Cerineia;
  • Capture the boar of Erimanto alive;
  • Clean in one day the corrals of the king of the Aúgias;
  • Kill and expel monsters from the lake Estínfalo;
  • Take the bull of Crete alive to King Euristeu;
  • Punish Diómedes, the king of Thrace;
  • Beat the Amazons and wear the belt of Queen Hippolyta;
  • Kill the giant monster geriatric;
  • Harvest the Golden Gold from the garden of the Hespérides;
  • Bring to earth the keeper of the World of the dead, Cérbero.

Because it is a myth with thousands of years, the order of the works of Hercules may appear different, depending on the author.

However, all works began to be seen as a spiritual journey of the hero. The metaphors and allegories used in the myth served for reflection. This is because Hercules, repentant of one of the greatest atrocities he could commit, faced death several times in search of redemption.

These are examples of myths that are now numbered around the world. However, there are several recent myths, as they may arise based on historical events or that bear symbolism enough to win the form of myth.

What is philosophy?

From myth to philosophical knowledge was a long way. The word philosophy comes from the Greek philosophia, meaning “Love for wisdom” in literal translation. It is a branch of study that seeks to understand fundamental aspects of human existence.

What is philosophy

Philosophy also reflects rationally on knowledge, moral and aesthetic values, the human mind, the truth, the language and the universe as a whole.

Origin of Philosophy

Around the SIXTH century before Christ, Greece was a place in which many cultures met. Therefore, he received influences from various parts of the world.

Thus, many individuals began to reflect on the world and its conditions critically.This meant not resorting to beliefs related to Greek mythology, with the command of the gods on men from their wills.

The term, philosophy (Philo sophia = love for Wisdom), is traditionally credited to Pythagoras. He coined the expression stating that full wisdom was fit only to the gods.

Men, then, could appreciate wisdom through philosophy. Pythagoras was the first person in the world to declare himself a philosopher.

However, Herodotus had already used the term philosophize. And Heraclius used aphilosopher to appoint a critical thinker long before Pythagoras set the word “philosophy”.

Study of Philosophy

Because it has a rational approach to the subjects it discusses, it is distinct from branches such as mythology and religion. However, philosophy is questioned by the scientific environment because it does not use empirical methods. That is, it is not derived from concrete data from an experiment, but from sensory arguments.

However, philosophy is extremely important for the development of methods used in theories, educational projects and even in scientific institutions. This is because it questions and rationally analyzes human knowledge.

Being present in practically all areas of knowledge, and even in the knowledge itself, the study of philosophy is divided among several segments. Among them, the following stand out:

  • The logic;
  • Ethics;
  • Aesthetics;
  • The philosophy of mind;
  • The philosophy of the natural and social sciences;
  • The philosophy of language;
  • The philosophy of politics;
  • The philosophy of physics;
  • The philosophy of mathematics;
  • The philosophy of religion.

Thus, philosophy is a branch that seeks to rationally understand various aspects of human existence, and even human existence itself. Despite not relying on an empirical methodology, it is crucial for the development of theories and methodologies of knowledge.