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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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Poetic Morals, Economy, and Politics

Poetic Morals, Economy, and Politics

(p.140) Chapter 13 Poetic Morals, Economy, and Politics
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the section on poetic morals, economy, and politics in the New Science. Morals, economy, and politics fall within the scope of Aristotle’s epistēmēpraktikai or “practical” sciences. Morals or ethics pertains to choice in regard to individual actions and is concerned with character understood as the product of habit. Economy is the smallest unit of statecraft from which the nation arises. This chapter considers Giambattista Vico’s views on the morality of the first men, piety, marriage, and burial, as well as his principles of humanity. It also discusses poetic economy, poetic morals, and poetic politics in relation to a mythological canon that Vico articulates in terms of the pursuits that establish civil society. Finally, it explores Vico’s notion of divine and heroic history within the context of three epitomes or fables that convey a severe truth: the first is that of Cadmus, the second is from the Iliad, and the third is that of the shield of Achilles.

Keywords:   poetic morals, poetic economy, poetic politics, New Science, Aristotle, Giambattista Vico, piety, humanity, civil society, fables

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