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Vico's "New Science"A Philosophical Commentary$
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Donald Phillip Verene

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700163

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700163.001.0001

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On an Eternal Natural Republic

On an Eternal Natural Republic

Chapter:
(p.221) Chapter 19 On an Eternal Natural Republic
Source:
Vico's "New Science"
Author(s):

Donald Phillip Verene

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501700163.003.0024

This chapter comments on Giambattista Vico’s conception of a fourth kind of republic that is natural and eternal (the first three forms of government correspond to those of the three ages of ideal eternal history) in his conclusion to the New Science. Vico first summarizes the essential points of the new science before moving the reader’s emotions with the picture of a people who, through malgovernance, “are rotting in that ultimate civil disease.” This is a state of the “barbarism of reflection” that infects Vico’s time as well as our own, because his time and ours is the same period of history. This chapter examines Plato’s connection to the first principle of Vico’s new science, providence, and to the first requirement for attaining wisdom, piety. In particular, it considers Vico’s interpretation of Plato’s Republic as well as his discussion of poetic wisdom. It also analyzes what Vico means by “an eternal natural republic, the best of its kind, ordained by divine providence.”

Keywords:   eternal natural republic, Giambattista Vico, New Science, ideal eternal history, reflection, Plato, piety, Republic, poetic wisdom, divine providence

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