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Epimetheus

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In Greek mythology, Epimetheus (Greek: Ἐπιμηθεύς; "hindsight", literally "afterthought", but in the manner of a fool looking behind, while running forward) was the brother of Prometheus ("foresight", literally "fore-thought"), a pair of Titans who "acted as representatives of mankind"[1]. They were the inseparable sons of Iapetus, who in other contexts was the father of Atlas. While Prometheus is characterized as ingenious and clever, Epimetheus is depicted as foolish.

In MythEdit

According to Plato's use of the old myth in his Protagoras (320d-322a), the twin Titans were entrusted with distributing the traits among the newly-created animals; Epimetheus was responsible for giving a positive trait to every animal, but when it was time to give man a positive trait, lacking foresight, he found that there was nothing left. Prometheus decided that mankind's attributes would be the civilizing arts and fire, which he stole from the gods. Prometheus later stood trial for his crime.

According to Hesiod, who related the tale twice[2], Epimetheus was the one who accepted the gift of Pandora from the gods. Their marriage may be inferred (and was by later authors), but it is not made explicit in either text.

In later myths, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora was Pyrrha, who married Deucalion and was one of the two who survived the deluge.

Epimetheus plays a key role in the philosophy of Bernard Stiegler, and in particular in terms of his understanding of the relation between technogenesis and anthropogenesis. According to Stiegler, it is significant that Epimetheus is entirely forgotten in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger.

ReferencesEdit

  1. (Kerenyi 1951, p 207),
  2. (Theogony, 527ff; Works and Days 57ff)



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