Etiology (Study of Origin)

Etiology (/iːtiˈɒlədʒi/; alternatively aetiology or ætiology) is the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek αἰτιολογία, aitiologia, "giving a reason for" (αἰτία, aitia, "cause"; and -λογία, -logia).[1] The word is most commonly used in medical and philosophical theories, where it is used to refer to the study of why things occur, or even the reasons behind the way that things act, and is used in philosophy, physics, psychology, government, geography, spatial analysis, medicine, theology, and biology in reference to the causes of various phenomena. An etiological myth is a myth intended to explain a name or create a mythic history for a place or family, an origin story.[1]

When we are speaking about the origin or causation of the universe, this is called Cosmology, or the study of the cosmos (universe). Religious or mythological cosmology is a body of beliefs based on mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology. Physical cosmology is the scholarly and scientific study of the origin, evolution, large-scale structures and dynamics, and ultimate fate of the universe, as well as the scientific laws that govern these realities. Religious cosmology (or mythological cosmology) is a body of beliefs based on the historical, mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Eschatology, or the study of the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the "end of the world" or "end time". The word "Eschatology" arises from the Greek ἔσχατος eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", first used in English around 1844. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "The part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind."[2]

Related to this study is Cosmogony (or cosmogeny), which is any model concerning the origin of either the cosmos or universe. Developing a complete theoretical model has implications in both the philosophy of science and epistemology.


2. "Eschatology, n.", def. a, Oxford English Dictionary, accessed 2016-05-18.

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