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Title: I sette vizi capitali: introspezione psicologica e analisi sociale
Authors: Casagrande, Carla
Keywords: capital vicespsychological introspection
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Carla Casagrande, "I sette vizi capitali: introspezione psicologica e analisi sociale", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, IV (2002) 2
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
IV (2002) 2
During the medieval age the scheme of the seven vices constitutes, as John Bossy underlines, a sort of great speculum societatis in which all the vices which ingenerate social disorder, conflict and violence can be recognised. The English historian believes that, on the contrary, this system proves itself weak with reference to the psychological introspection. Various elements, however, convey the impression that the social use of the seven vices' structure never obscured the interior life of the individual. On the contrary, in a first moment the capital vices (as delineated by Giovanni Cassiano) are actually expression and vehicle of a solitary morality: the one of the monk, who sees in the genealogy of the seven vices a series of psychological conditions progressively turned towards evil and who aims to self-knowledge and self-dominion within a search of purification and of approach to God. Even when, from Gregory the Great's age onwards, the interlocutor of the moral message is all mankind and the "mundane" use of the seven vices is favoured by the elimination of sloth and by the introduction of envy, the system's strong social character does not lessen its individual and psychological dimension. When the individual confession of the vices becomes obligatory for everyone, the seven vices' structure proves to be a perfect system of individuation and classification of the various vices, capable of guiding the whole social body through the administration of the souls, by tracing from the external actions the interior movements which have caused them. And even if the genealogical order of the vices tends to turn into a taxonomic, the system does not lose its guiding function of penetrating the human soul's recesses: on the contrary, the powerful psychological analysis of the capital vices, previously guaranteed by the monastic knowledge, finds new strength in the suggestions that, with special reference to human passions, derive from the discovery of Greek psychology.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2002) IV/2

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