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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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Tree of Poetic Wisdom

Tree of Poetic Wisdom

(p.110) Chapter 10 Tree of Poetic Wisdom
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter offers a philosophical commentary on Giambattista Vico’s notion of poetic wisdom (sapienza poetica), which forms a section of the New Science. Poetic wisdom is a wisdom of the senses that is presupposed by philosophic wisdom (sapienza filosofica), a wisdom of the intellect. In On the Study Methods of Our Time, Vico endorsed the need for proper education to be based on a wisdom of the whole. He argues that among the ancients a single thinker was a whole university, whereas among the moderns students are taught by various specialists without what is taught being governed by a vision of the whole. This chapter examines Vico’s two schemes in which to organize the fields of knowledge in their original poetic form: as a tree of knowledge and as the nine Muses. It also considers why Vico identifies the nine Muses with the nine sciences of his poetic tree of knowledge.

Keywords:   poetic wisdom, Giambattista Vico, New Science, philosophic wisdom, education, ancients, moderns, tree of knowledge, Muses, sciences

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