Heracles and the Passage from Nature to Culture in G. Vico's La Scienza Nuova

Diogenes 38 (151):90-103 (1990)
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In order to explain ancient myths rationally, Vico claims that one must affect to have no erudition whatever (in his words, “ridursi in uno stato di somma ignoranza di tutta l'umana e divina erudizione”), for myths are not fables but accounts of the beginnings of civil history as primitive minds, comparable to the minds of children, might have been expected to relate them. Later thinkers who dwelled on these “narrations” with their own civilized minds, failed to seek in them the very framework of the primitive and poetic world they described.



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