Aetiologia

An Introduction to Aetiologia

Aetiologia (derives from Greek word ‘aitia,’ “a cause” and ‘logos,’ “a description”), is a rhetorical technique by which one gives a cause or reason for a result.

In aetiologia, the relationship of cause and effect is exhibited, and the claim given is made reasonable, comprehensible and easily justifiable.

A Classic Example of Aetiologia
  • “He had the eye of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever”
  • — (The Tell-Tale Heart, 5:88)
Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae: AetiologiaOpens in new window
Peacham (1577) S4r; Putt. (1589) 236 (“etiologia,” “the reason rend,” “the tell cause”); Day 1599 95 (“etiologia”)
Changing Minds: AetiologiaOpens in new window