Criticism of Vladimir Propp’s Theory on Genesis of Magic Fairy Tales’ Structure (42813)

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Ukrainian National Academy of Science

Humanitarian Educational Centre

Odessa branch

Philosophy Department

Olexander Kyryliuk


Criticism of Vladimir Propp’s

Theory on Genesis of Magic Fairy Tales Structure


Autograph – CHE UNSA


ББК 71-0


УДК 008-1

Olexander Kyryliuk. ANTI-PROPP. Criticism of Vladimir Propp’s Theory on Genesis of Magic Fairy Tales Structure. – Odessa: Autograph/CHE UNSA, 2009. – p. 50. (Engl.).

Separate English supplement (Topics) to the book:

Olexander Kyryliuk. Weltanschauung Categories of Ultimate Bases in the Universal Culture Dimensions. – [Ukrainian National Academy of Science Ninetieth Anniversary; In Commemoration of Academician Volodymyr Shуnkarуuk (80-th anniversary): Photo coupled with wife]. / Abst. in Russian. pp. 357-389/ Bibl. pp. 392-411. / English Summary. / Abbrev. // UNSA Humanitarian Educational Centre: Odessa philosophy department // Odessa, Ukraine: Autograph Publish. House. – 2008. – 416 рр. In Ukrainian)

Олександр Кирилюк. АНТИ-ПРОПП. Критика теорії В. Проппа зі структури чарівної казки та її генезису. Одеса: Автограф/ЦГО НАН України. – 2009. – 50 с. (англ. мова).

Окремий додаток до книги (автореферат англійською): Кирилюк О.С. Світоглядні категорії граничних підстав в універсальних вимірах культури. – Монографія. – [Текст] – / Дев’яносто років Національній академії наук України. / До восьмидесятиріччя академіка Володимира Іларіоновича ШИНКАРУКА (фото з дружиною). / Автореф. книги рос. мовою сс. 357-389; резюме англ. мовою; список скорочень; бібліограф. сс. 392-411. / Олександр Сергійович Кирилюк – Одеса: Центр Гуманітарної освіти НАН України. Одеський філіал / Автограф. – 2008. - 416 с. (укр. мов.)

ISBN 966-96048-7-7

© О.С. Кирилюк, 2009


An original author conception of Existential Semiotics is being developed in the monograph. The methodological basis of the research is the results of studying the problem „human being - world" at Kуivan School of Philosophy. The world is understood as a projection of human senses on objective reality. But as the most meaningful human senses are existential senses, world on the whole, and its separate parts and phenomena get the indicated human measuring, foremost, in the maximum terms of the beginning and the end, life and death. Such are not only religious but also modern physical pictures of the world and history and political theories.

These ultimate senses form stable invariants of cultural discourses, in other words, they make culture universalias. These are the Categories of Ultimate Bases or – birth, life, death and immortality, and world-view codes, – alimentary, erotic, aggressive and informative, and also their combinations and formula „life – death – immortality".

They form not only the core basis of culture texts, but also serve as the analytical language of description of these texts.

Defining the invariant elements of a fairy-tale structure is the applied version of the search of culture invariants. On the basis of his own conception Me author provides a falsification of theory of V. Propp, which asserts, that the structure of a fairy-tale is formed by transformation of functions of fairy-tale characters into semantic units and that a fairy-tale is the reflection of reality, first of all - the initiation ceremony.

This falsification is due to acceptance of such base concepts, which are in conflict with it. The falsification of consequences of the theory, which has been conducted, defined falsification of all theoretical system, where these consequences had been taken from (modus tollens). Its falsification has been also proved by the fact that this work managed not only to open "reproduction effect", but also to set up and prove the empiric hypothesis of low level of universality, which describes this effect (K. Popper).

This empiric falsifying hypothesis confirms that any empiric culture text in a specific form through the historically preconditioned concepts reproduce a base universal cultural formula "death -immortality".

The universal utterances of metaphysical, philosophical worldview appear on its basis. The critical review of V. Propp's conception showed that in the reconstruction of a fairy-tale structure he stopped on the superficial, second-rate level of elements of its structure.

On the basis of this falsification in this monograph the author puts forward his own conception not only of the description, but also of explanation the source of structuring of cultural discourses. The factors, which determine the structure of culture texts, are base existential options of human being.

These options as a result reproduce such a world of signs and meanings, which are identical in any culture. Because of it the humanity is united and indivisible not only in an anthropological, but also in cultural and historical aspect. People of different cultures differ one from another not in what they do exactly, but in how they do it.


1. Philosophical and methodological basis of the Weltanschauung Categories of Ultimate Bases researching

The main factors that determine the failures of applied structuralism, the study of folklore or ethnopoetry in the search of invariants of the texts of culture are their inability to find an adequate methodological ensuring for solving its applied problems, admission of the secondary epiphenomenal structures of the texts as the subject of investigation, ignoring the philosophical and Weltanschauung-ideological approach in the structurally-typological investigations of culture. In the research there is shown a positive effectiveness of implementation of the results of scientific investigations of Kуivan School of Philosophy in the process of detection of culture invariants (or culture universalias) that focused on the problem of human relation to the world. A foundation is given to the author’s conception of interpretation of Weltanschauung (worldview) Categories of Ultimate Bases as the genuine invariants of culture (Culture Universalias). There is offered a hypothesis that one notional invariant – Categories of Ultimate Bases is at the heart of all the system of cultural texts (discourses).

World is the world of a person, a projection of human senses to an objective reality. Therefore the major meanings of the world, in spite of their apparent objectivity, are inherently anthropomorphous. Objective parameters of the world in their universal meanings fix categories of philosophy. But, being forms of thinking, they simultaneously act as total forms of worldview. In this function they serve as a concrete definition of the Categories of Ultimate Bases. This proceeds from the fact that in conceptually-philosophical models of the world the Philosophic Categories are Weltanschauung and theoretical generalizations of the Categories of Ultimate Bases.

Since the world in its intrinsic definitions depends on a person, for the profound comprehension of the world it becomes obviously necessary to solve the problem of human essence. To put it otherwise, defining the world as projection of humanly significant senses on an objective reality places the emphasis on the very person. Hence in the research there were considered the typological approximations to a person. The first of them gives the person the naturalistic and essential definitions. Usually the essence of a person is defined by the list of the most significant indications, as it is considered, or by leading the concept person under a wider concept (an animal, a being) with its further concretization. Nevertheless, if to recognize, that any of the mentioned intrinsic features of a person is not characteristic for a concrete individual, it unambiguously leads to a conclusion, that the person, who is deprived even of these essential features, actually is not a person. Therefore, the definition of the person as an active animal making the tools of labour, a moral creature, and a being that has religion or a biped animal without feathers etc. cannot be considered satisfactory as there are legless invalids, people who made a vital principle of idleness, people frankly immoral or atheists.

The second approach, axiomatic, rests on the basic vital intentions of a person. From the given data it is possible to draw the following conclusions. To axiomatic definitions of the person against which it is hardly possible to object owing to their evidence, refer the following: 1) the person is a living creature; 2) the fundamental inclination of the person as a living being is an aspiration for a survival which can be named as an instinct of self-preservation; 3) as any other living being a person possesses all basic vital functions called to provide realization of beforementioned fundamental inclination - nutritive, reproductive, aggressive and informational functions; 4) as well as everything in the world, the person is not eternal, he is a mortal being; 5) unlike other living beings the person is a unique creature in the world that understands his own individual finiteness and considers this phenomenon as a subject of a special personal Weltanschauung reflection.

The third approach which gives polar mortally-immortal definitions of the person, has the certain bases in the real facts of absence of precise borders between life and death in their ontological displays that was especially brightly showed in the widespread self-name of people as beings of the mortal nature (Engl. „man” – ‘mort’, Lаt. „homo” – ‘humus’, old-Irish „duine” – ‘mortal’).