The Rehabilitation of Myth: Vico's 'New Science'

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Cambridge University Press, May 2, 2002 - History - 292 pages
In this important essay, Joseph Mali argues that Vico's New Science must be interpreted according to Vico's own clues and rules of interpretation, principally his claim that the 'master-key' of his New Science is the discovery of myth. Following this lead Mali shows how Vico came to forge his new scientific theories about the mythopoeic constitution of consciousness, society, and history by reappraising, or 'rehabilitating' the ancient and primitive mythical traditions which still persist in modern times. He further relates Vico's radical redefinition of these traditions as the 'true narrations' of all religious, social, and political practices in the 'civil world' to his unique historical depiction of Western civilisation as evolving in a-rational and cyclical motions. On this account, Mali elaborates the wider, distinctly 'revisionist', implications of Vico's New Science for the modern human sciences. He argues that inasmuch as the New Science exposed the linguistic and other cultural systems of the modern world as being essentially mythopoeic, it challenges not only the Christian and Enlightenment ideologies of progress in his time, but also the main cultural ideologies of our time.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgements
A note on Vicos texts
Introduction
1
The revision of science
16
The revision of civilization
74
The revision of mythology
136
The revision of history
210
Conclusion
266
Index
273
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