Vico, Giambattista


Vico, Giambattista
Giambattista Vico Antonio Pérez-Ramos Faire, c’est se faire. S.Mallarmé Giambattista Vico’s (1688–1744) contribution to the history of western thought is both difficult to identify and still harder to evaluate. So much so that the overall characterization of his philosophy should perhaps be made chiefly by way of negatives: Vico is no empiricist, no experimentalist, no scholastic, no idealist, no positivist, no rationalist and so on. In fact, any philosophical classification would be a misnomer for the purported creator of a New Science, the self-appointed critic of Cartesianism, the passionate vindicator of a ‘topical’ versus a ‘critical’ pedagogy, the putative discoverer of a novel criterion of truth etc. This historiographic problem—i.e. the difficulty of classifying such a many-sided figure into a well-established canon—becomes further compounded by at least three complementary considerations: Vico’s purported isolation as an eighteenth-century thinker, the not yet corrected imbalance between his reputation in Italy (where he tends to be considered the country’s greatest philosopher) and his reputation abroad; and, more generally, the fact of his being perceived as a precursor, which conjures up the whole panoply of unresolved tensions related to that status. Vico himself made much of the first of these factors in his Autobiography of 1725–8 and in his private letters, where he grossly exaggerated his loneliness as a thinker in his native Naples; and since that time many critics and scholars have repeated the implied corollary of that book, i.e. the picture of a gigantic figure without direct forerunners or disciples. Thus, nationalistic motivations and the fervour of Neapolitan exiles in the early nineteenth-century began to cement a cult which elevated Vico to the pedestal of a cultural hero in the age of the Risorgimento—a situation which with all due modifications still prevails today.1 And, finally, the status of a precursor is particularly difficult to assess in this instance, for it sends us back to a much discussed question in the history of ideas and of philosophy proper. Such a question could be formulated in this manner: are influences the result of direct acquaintance whenever we are talking of intellectual affinities, or is there a collective wealth of patterns of thought which the human mind is compelled to resort to whenever confronted with the same or similar type of issue? Vico, for example, has been lyrically hailed as, among other titles of glory, containing the nineteenth century in embryo,2 of fathering or at least prefiguring the whole of German idealism,3 and of being the fountain-head of modern anthropology and psycho-analysis.4 Though most of these claims appear today vastly exaggerated if taken at face value, there is a sense in which the radically atypical traits in Vico’s thought are linked to further developments in western speculation, with or without direct acquaintance from author to author. It is for this reason that any historiography worth its salt should try to asses such purported affinities, or, at least, to outline the tantalizing contours of similarities and incompatibilities. Vico’s starting-point as a philosopher is his criticism of Cartesianism, both as a philosophy and as a philosophically-inspired pedagogy. From the early inaugural orations that Vico had to deliver in his capacity as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Naples, he emphasized time and again the putative sterilizing result of applying the analytical method of thinking (as epitomized by the Cartesians Arnauld and Nicole in their Port Royal Logic) against the old ars topics that is, the ancient canon of specific questions and answers that the prospective learner had to ask about any subject whatsoever in order to attain a plausible (though not necessarily true) opinion in the matter in question.5 This debate (‘topical’ versus ‘critical’ philosophy) has led some students to see Vico as a fundamentally old-fashioned figure, propounding a superseded method of thinking in the tradition of rhetoric instead of embracing the novelty of contemporary doctrines in natural philosophy. As it stands, this criticism is unfair, for a reading of Vico’s inaugural lessons prefigures his great discovery, i.e. the verum factum formula in De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia of 1710, as a key to an understanding of contemporary physical science. So we can read in the oration De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione of 1708: Modern physicists resemble those who have inherited mansions where no luxury is lacking, so that they only need to move around the many pieces of furniture or embellish the house with some ornaments in accordance with the tastes of their time; and these learned men hold that the physical doctrines are Nature herself… That is why every thing that on the strength of the geometrical method is shown in physics as being true is only probable /ista physicae quae vi geometricae methodi ostenduntur verae, nonnisi verisimilia sunt/ and from geometry has got the method, but not the demonstration. We demonstrate geometrical entities because we make them; if we could demonstrate physical truths, then we would be their authors/ geometrica demonstramus qua fecimus; si physica demonstrare possemus, faceremus/.6 Now there are three main components in these compressed lines of the young Vico, lines belonging to a chapter tellingly entitled ‘Of the Disadvantages of Introducing the Geometrical Method into Physics’. The first factor we should consider pertains to what in our idiolect is termed ‘the philosophy of science’. Vico’s radical and at the same time original position amounts to this: he is expressly rejecting the realist understanding of the ‘mechanization of the word-picture’ (roughly: of Newtonian mechanics) as the true and objective portrait of the physical world. Further yet, this rejection is made extensive to any physical system whatsoever. Instead, Vico proposes to consider the so-called mechanical philosophy as a useful or expedient fiction, whose certainty is solely based on the method deployed (i.e. mathematics), but falls short of the supposed objectification of reality which a widespread realist self-understanding of modern science would claim for itself.7 Naturally, this approach may strike a conventionalist or fictionalist chord, and resembles Locke’s paradoxical dictum in the Essay iv. 12.10: ‘Natural philosophy is not capable of being made a science’. But Vico’s philosophical acumen in reaching that conclusion is all the more remarkable coming as it does from the rhetorical tradition and being, by and large, alien to the great philosophical debate that the new science had unleashed. The second point to stress in the above passage concerns Vico’s view of pure mathematics as precisely the only true science conferred on man, because in it author and knower coincide: the mathematician, Vico holds, knows his truths by making, doing or bringing forth the elements with which or upon which he works. This is the first embryo of Vico’s celebrated verum ipsum factum principle as a criterion for gauging human knowledge, and the cornerstone of his own constructivist theory, to which I shall shortly return. And, finally, the above passage characterizes Vico’s own response to the crise pyrrhonienne or sceptical challenge, the reaction to which, according to Pierre Bayle, serves to document the rise of modern philosophy and science.8 Vico’s answer to that challenge, moreover, establishes a certain hierarchy in the forms of human knowledge which he is going to develop and modify in his mature work. Let us consider Vico’s response to scepticism with some more detail. Mathematical knowledge, we said, is provenly certain (verum) because it is produced, realized, constructed or made (factum) by the knowing subject himself: ‘We demonstrate geometrical entities because we make them’. Now if mathematics thus typifies human cognition at his best, would it not be the case that it does so because it is precisely embodying the only criterion of truth that man can follow? Here begins Vico’s systematic critique of the other great foundationalist movement of the age, namely, Cartesianism, a critique to which he partially devoted the so-called liber metaphysicus of 1710, i.e. the De Antiqmssima Italorum Sapientia.9 In this book Vico’s quasi-fictionalist or conventionalist understanding of physical science is expressly coupled with a full-fledged constructivist theory of truth whose further implications for the classification of the sciences are clearly delineated. In so doing, however, Vico considerably draws on the Aristotelian doctrine that to know means to know per causas as a way of exposing the putative fallacy and incoherence of the Cartesian cogito. Thus, he programmatically asserts that ‘science is the knowledge of the genus or the mode by which a thing is made /scientia sit cognitio generis seu modi, quo res fiat/…by means of which the mind, at the same time that it knows the mode because it arranges the elements, makes the thing /dum mens cogitat, rem faciat/’; and consequently: ‘Human truths are those of which we ourselves arrange the elements’.10 So the first adumbration of Vico’s great epistemic canon in De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione reaches maturity and becomes fully developed in his criticism of Cartesian metaphysics: the true and the made are convertible, and the ego which the cogito is supposed to discover or establish as the firmest truth is not that piece of rock-bottom knowledge from which other verities can be inferred in a deductive chain. According to Vico, the notionally unchallengeable ego has no causal underpinnings whatsoever, that is to say, it is not constructed or fabricated, made by the thinking mind. In fine, the Cartesian cogito ‘I think, therefore I am’ is therefore a form of coscienza (or very vivid mental content, as a Humean ‘impression’), but it can never attain to the status of scienza or proven knowledge as constructed by the inquiring subject. Again, the anti-sceptical tenor (even as Descartes emphasized in the case of his own cogitation) of Vico’s purported discovery is expressly stressed: To be sure, there is no other way in which scepticism can indeed be refuted, except that the criterion of the true should be to have made the thing itself…. Those truths are human truths, the elements of which we shape /fingamus/ for ourselves, which we contain within ourselves, and which we project ad infinitum (to infinity) through postulates; and, when we combine them, we make the truths that, by thus combining them, we come to know. And because of all this we get hold of the genus and form by which we make these things.11 At this point Vico also invokes a theological sanction for this criterion, given that ‘Divine Knowledge is the norm of human knowledge’ (ibid.). The starting-point of his reflection here, however, seems to be an awkward philological doctrine, namely, the putative synonymity of the words verum and factum in classical Latin. Indeed, Vico’s opening gambit in chapter I of the De Antiquissima runs: For the Latins verum /the true/ and factum /what is made/ are interchangeable, or to use the customary language of the Schools, they are convertible /Latinis verum et factum reciprocantur, seu, ut Scholarum vulgus loquitur, convertuntur/ … Hence it is reasonable to believe that the ancient sages of Italy entertained the following belief about the true: ‘The true is precisely what is made’ /verum ipsum factum/.12 Vico’s resort to the Latin language in order to bolster up his gnoseological position was soon criticized on linguistic grounds in the review of his book which appeared in the learned publication Giornale de’ Letterati d’Italia. In his First Response to those criticisms, Vico tried to defend his philological thesis by quoting Plautus and Terence, but in his Second Response (following a rejoinder in the journal) he wisely retreated from the terrain of pure lexicography and explained that etymologies which the grammarians draw largely from the Greek language of the inhabitants of the Ionian coast serve me only as evidence that the ancient Etruscan language was diffused among all the peoples of Italy, as well as in Magna Graecia. They have no other use for me. I have tried to figure out the reasons that the concepts of these wise men became obscure and were lost to sight as their learned speech /i loro dotti parlari/ became current and was employed by the vulgar.13 So the verum factum criterion, stripped of its philological clothing, is now presented as possessing the character of an absolute and self-evident truth—the touchstone of any conceivable human truth. To make this position even clearer, Vico condenses much of his constructivist ideal under a theological cloak which recaptures most of the topics we have been considering, that is, the nature of mathematics, the criticism of Descartes’s claim about the self-certainty of clear and distinct ideas, the verum factum topos as exemplified not only in mathematics qua constructs but in any facet of human cognition, and finally his own hierarchy of knowledge. For this reason, Vico’s Second Response to the learned journal deserves extensive quotation: The criterion for possessing the science of something is to put it into effect /è il mandarla ad effetto/ and proving from causes is making what one proves. And this being is absolutely true because it is convertible with the made and its cognition is identical with its operation. This criterion is guaranteed for me by God’s science, which is the source and standard of all truths. This criterion guarantees me that the only human sciences are the mathematical ones, and that they only prove from causes /e ch’esse unicamente pruovano dalle cause/. Beyond that, it gives me the way of classifying the non-scientific disciplines /notizie/ that are either certain on the basis of indubitable signs, or probable on the basis of good argument, or truelike on the basis of powerful hypotheses. Do you wish to teach me a scientific truth? Grant me the cause which is completely contained within me so that I invent a name at my will, and I establish an axiom regarding the relation that I set up between two or more ideas of things which are abstract and which are, consequently, both contained in me…. You could tell me, ‘Make a demonstration of the assumed theorem’, which is tantamount to ‘Make true what you want to know’. And in knowing the truth that you have proposed, I shall make it; so that there will not remain for me any ground to doubt it because I myself have made it. The criterion of the ‘clear and distinct perception’ does not assure me of scientific knowledge. As used in physics or ethics, it does not yield a truth that has the same force as the one it gives me in mathematics. The criterion of making what is known gives me the /logical/ difference here: for in mathematics I know truth by making it; in physics and the other sciences the situation is different.14 This long quotation may help us to approach two questiones vexatae that have exercised the mind of a host of philosophers and Vichian scholars. These are: (a) in how far is Vico’s thought original, i.e. is his constructivist criterion really new, as he never tires to repeat?; (b) is it philosophically sound to uphold that criterion and what are its historical credentials? The first question has been dealt with with some acerbity, given Vico’s reputation in Italy. Thus the great philosopher and Vichian scholar Benedetto Croce maintained that Vico’s originality was beyond dispute, although formal precedents of his criterion could be found.15 More recent research, however, makes it impossible to share Croce’s view and tends to regard Vico’s Grundsatz as one of the various formulations, perhaps the most felicitious one, of a whole family of ideas: the maker’s knowledge tradition, or in Amos Funkenstein’s phrase, the ‘ergetic ideal’.16 Its barest outline would be roughly as follows. A tradition which goes back to Antiquity postulates that objects of knowledge are in an essential sense objects of construction, that knowing is a form of making, and that the human knower is such as maker or doer. This gnoseological principle has been advanced not so much as a method but as a mode of thinking or as an archetype of thought, and its polemical rejection is to be found in many significant places of ancient philosophical writing. Both Plato and Aristotle, for example, considered that ideal worth criticizing and consistently saw the human knower as a privileged beholder or enlightened user, never as a maker.17 But there are some traces of this tradition that classical speculation was unable to erase. Thus in the theological reflections of Philo of Alexandria and in the mathematical thought of Proclus we encounter the notion that knowing implies making or is a kind of making and vice versa.18 God’s knowledge of the world, for example, is preeminently knowledge by doing, i.e. knowledge qua Creator, and, as Christian theology gradually asserted itself, the difference between divine and human knowledge began to be perceived more and more as quantitative rather than as qualitative: God possesses infinite knowledge, but man’s knowledge of some privileged truths contained in God’s mind (i.e. mathematics) approaches that of the Deity. We know about the circle almost in the same way as God does, though we know much less; yet allegedly in the discovery of the pertinent mathematical truths we proceed discursively or step by step, whilst God’s mind encompasses all cognitive operations in a single all-embracing intuition. In the same vein, Proclus argued that the mathematician projects his figures out of his own mind into a kind of imaginative space, where he proceeds to arrange his elements. He is therefore knower qua maker of mathematical. Now, these ideas gained much favour in the fifteenth century with Nicholas of Cusa (1401–64), who systematically dwelt on mathematics as a form of human and divine creation.19 Later on, the new scientific movement made its own use of these notions under the guise of a legitimizing or metatheoretical topos—an undercurrent in philosophical thought which has rarely been spotted. Men like Cardan, Vives, Sanchez, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Mersenne, Gassendi, Pascal, Kepler, Locke, Boyle and many minor figures embraced the new, yet elusive but immensely powerful ideal that knowledge is achieved through doing or construction and gave to it different emphases and interpretations.20 Thus, the understanding of this principle and the stress laid on its implication by each individual thinker was sometimes vastly different and even opposite (for instance, as regards the question whether this kind of knowledge by making referred exclusively to mathematics or also to the material fabrication or construction of a model of man and the universe), although the tenor of the ideal is perceptible in the most unlikely sources, sometimes with a sceptical slant. To confine ourselves to English figures, Joseph Glanville (1630–80) wrote that ‘the Universe must be known by the same art whereby it was made’, obviously meaning thereby that to know physical things amounts to being able to reconstruct them at a minute scale as far as it is humanly feasible.21 Thomas Browne (1605–82) in Religio Medici (1642, written c. 1630) expressly calls God Artifex ‘wise because he knows all things, and he knows all things because he made them all’.22 With yet another aim in view, Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) wrote that Of arts, some are demonstrable, others undemonstrable; and the demonstrable are those the construction of the subject whereof is in the power of the artist itself, who, in his demonstration, does no more but deduce the consequences of his own operation. The reason whereof is this, that the science of every subject is derived from a precognition of the causes, generation and construction of the same; and, consequently, where the causes are known, there is a place for demonstration, but not where the causes are to seek for. Geometry therefore is demonstrable, for the lines and figures from which we reason are drawn and described by ourselves. But because of natural bodies we know not the demonstration, but seek it from the effect, there lies no demonstration of what the causes be we seek for, but only of what may be.23 This is fairly similar to some of Vico’s pronouncements above, especially if we compare it to Vico’s hierarchy of knowledge as presented in De Antiqmssima: Mechanics is less certain than geometry and arithmetics, because it deals with motion, but with the aid of machines; physics is less certain than mechanics, because mechanics, treats the external motion of circumferences, whereas physics treats the internal motions of centres; morality /moralis/ is less certain than physics because the latter deals with those internal motions of bodies which are by Nature certain, whereas morality examines the motions of minds /motus animorum/ which are most deeply hidden /penitissimi/ and arise mostly from desire, which is infinite /et ut plurimum a libidine, quae est infinita, proveniunt/.24 Now it is highly unlikely that, with the possible exception of Proclus’ Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements translated into Latin by Francesco Barozzi (Padua, 1560), Vico had really come across an articulated intimation of the verum factum topos. This may be an excellent instance, therefore, of the kind of progress philosophy sometimes has in store, namely, the growth in tension and self-awareness in certain opaque areas, or the making finally explicit of a pattern of thought which philosophers had been utilizing on various occasions without properly identifying the common denominator of much of their thinking. Hence, one of Vico’s claims to greatness lies surely here: he abruptly opens De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia with the formulation of the epistemo-logical canon so many thinkers in his age were unwittingly using. According to D.P.Lachterman, that canon stands for nothing else but ‘the Mark of the Modern’, that is, the idea that the human mind should be compared to a pair of hands instead of to a faithful mirror—a notion which will eventually make a construct of ‘reality’ itself.25 Of course, it would be utterly preposterous to claim that the convertibility of the true and the made can be unqualifyingly predicated of all of man’s cognitive facets. But, since we do not know whether such an all-embracing formula exists or can exist, we may well greet the Vichian topos as a historically exact identification of one of the leading ideals of man’s self-reflecting rationality. So much for the philosophical soundness of his principle. Let us glance back at Vico’s last quotation above. The ‘moral science’ had been demoted to the lowest rank in his epistemological hierarchy because the ‘motions of minds’ were supposedly inscrutable. Now it is surprising that what has been called since Croce’s studies ‘the second form of Vichian gnoseology’ should take its starting-point precisely from the reversal of that position, that is, from the contention that it is man qua constructor or creator of human institutions (‘the motions of minds’) that should enjoy pride of place in the architecture of Vico’s magnum opus, i.e. the Scienza Nuova.26 Though nowhere termed ‘principle’ or ‘corollary’ (degnità) in the language that Vico adopts in that work, the verum factum topos is expressly expounded in three paragraphs (334, 349, and 374) as though it were a reminder of the epistemological pillar on which the new science is erected. Further yet, any attempt to salvage the cognitive credentials of natural science in the domain of the maker’s knowledge tradition (as in De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia) disappears altogether, and to the later Vico the foundation of this knowledge of human affairs or cose umane entails a radical scepticism about the possibility of man’s ever achieving a science of Nature. In Vico’s own words: In the night of thick darkness enveloping the earliest antiquity, so remote from ourselves, there shines the eternal and never failing light of a truth beyond all question /questo lume eterno, che non tramonta, di questa verità/: that the world of civil society has been made by men, and that its principles are therefore to be found /ritruovare/ within the modifications of our own human mind. Whoever reflects on this cannot but marvel that the philosophers should have bent all their energies to the study of Nature, which, since God made it, he alone knows; and that they should have neglected the study of the world of the nations, or civil world, which, since men have made it, men could come to know.27 Now it is important to realize that the Italian ritruovare in this paragraph may mean to find again, since many misunderstandings have arisen from it being translated as simply ‘to find’. This sentence somehow implies that the human mind is posited by Vico as containing in its present and civilized stage all the patterns of thought that it has deployed or projected into the surrounding world, first in the process of humanization and then in the setting-up of the multifarious panoply of human institutions, social structures and political systems. So Vico is not simply asserting that it is men that make their history, but upholding a rather strong thesis as to the rationale of man’s capacity to grasp that very history, even when he is not its direct author. Yet, critically considered, here lies one of Vico’s most serious weaknesses, for he offers no proof as to the possibility of that ritruovare in the required gnoseological sense. In fact, the difficulty can be further pressed, for the ‘motions of the mind’ are most of the time an act of epistemic selfdeception, as Lachterman argues and Vico seems to recognize in several places.28 How can a rational mind—say, the historian’s—run the gamut of all the irrational or nonrational moves that in Vico’s own narrative of the origins of mankind have played so decisive a part? Besides, what counts as ‘rational’ in the mind of a Vichian historian? For example, the invention of what he considers the three master institutions of humanized life (religion, marriage and burial) did not arise from any kind of rational computation that we could understand and exactly reproduce in our own minds with absolute certainty. Simply to attribute them to our feelings of fear and of shame, as Vico does, appears a rather jejune thesis, given the vast plurality of forms that such feelings may take and may have in fact taken in man’s psychological make-up:
an in his ignorance makes himself the ruler of the Universe, for in the
examples cited /[i.e. those related to the origin of language and metaphor]/ he has made of himself an entire world. So that, as rational metaphysics teaches that man becomes all things by understanding them /homo intelligendo fit omnia/ this imaginative metaphysics shows /dimostra/ that man becomes all things by not understanding them /homo non intelligendo fit omnia/ and perhaps the latter proposition is truer than the former, for when man understands, he extends /spiega/ his mind and takes in /comprende/ the things, but when he does not understand, he makes the things out of himself and becomes them by transforming himself into them. [(Sc. N. par. 405)] If this is really so and the possibilities of error become less and less frequent as we advance towards those stages of humanity which are supposed to resemble ours, then a good case could be made for arguing that Vico had in fact adumbrated the concept of Verstehen, that is to say, of cognitive empathy or imaginative understanding which man can use solely when handling the things that belong to man: motivations, fears, feelings and so forth. This is a mode of knowing (sometimes understood as a method of sorts) proper to the human sciences or Geisteswissenschaften, a mode or perhaps a method that by definition natural sciences lack.29 This interpretation is suggested by, amongst others, Isaiah Berlin in his essays on Vico and the Scienza Nuova. According to Berlin, Vico discovered a hitherto ‘unrecognized sense of knowing basic to all humane studies’. In his own words, this sense of knowing is no other but the sense in which I know what it is to be poor, to fight for a cause, to belong to a nation, to join or abandon a church or a party, to feel nostalgia, terror, the presence of a God, to understand a gesture, a work of art, a joke, a man’s character or that one is transformed or lying to oneself. One has to note, however, that in the above examples no time or place provision is made, so that it would appear that the experience of being poor—to quote one of his illustrations—is fundamentally the same in twentieth-century Britain and in tenth-century China: But it is highly unlikely that the notion of ‘poverty’ has remained unaltered throughout history and geography. Be that as it may, such things are known, Berlin continues, in the first place…by personal experience, in the second place because the experience of others is sufficiently woven into our own to be seized quasidirectly… and in the third place by the working (sometimes by a conscious effort) of the imagination. This is the sort of knowing that participants of an activity claim to possess as against mere observers; the knowledge of the actors as against that of the audience, of the ‘inside’ story as against that obtained from some ‘outside’ vantage point: knowledge by ‘direct acquaintance’ with my inner states or by sympathetic insight into those of others.30 Berlin’s suggestion and description is indeed valid for much of Dilthey’s, Weber’s or Collingwood’s theorization of the method and aim proper to the human sciences or to history. In the initial mist to which Vico’s efforts belong, however, that characterization turns out to be far too clear, though undoubtedly Berlin is looking in the right direction. There is something else, in fact, that would make possible the operations of Verstehen in Vico’s Scienza Nuova. Let us see how it might work. The other key idea which Vico resorts to when attempting to guarantee the exactness of our re-entering into other men’s minds or when trying to engage cognitively with the most remote past is the notion of Providence. This, as shall be shown, semi-secular idea would guide the course of nations according to specifical, intellectually graspable patterns (Vico’s corsi and ricorsi), constituting the so-called storia ideale eterna of that which ‘was, is, and shall be’. Needless to add, in Vico’s speculation the ‘motions of the human mind’ are to follow suit, over and above the personal will of the historical actors themselves. Now, this notion, no less than the verum factum topos, enjoys a reputable pedigree from the prophet Isaiah 10:5–8, to Maimonides’s ‘cunning of God’, Mandeville’s ‘private vices, public benefits’, Kant’s ‘hidden plan of Nature’ (verborgener Plan der Natur) and, of course, Hegel’s ‘cunning of Reason’ (List der Vernunft)—the last ones being wholly secular ways of translating an old theologoumenon. Amos Funkenstein has identified and richly documented this family of ideas. He has dubbed it ‘the invisible hand explanations’ in history, alluding to Adam Smith’s celebrated simile in economics.31 Now, Vico is quite amenable to this description in his explanation of history and of the manner man is capable of grasping it in the Scienza Nuova. Thus, while describing at length the slow process by which man has forged his own civil nature out of an initial brutish existence, Vico rejects all forms of diffusionism in the spreading of civilization and insists on a spontaneous process taking place in each nation and place. Yet, he emphasizes again and again that mankind is willing one thing and invariably achieving another, and that the oblique route that the nations follow (their corso and ricorso) is, as it were, guaranteed in its intelligible uniformity by a non-conscious effort of the historical subjects: For, though men have themselves made this world of nations… it has without doubt been born of a mind often unlike /diversa/, at times quite contrary to /tutta contraria/ and always superior to, the particular ends these men had set themselves…. Thus men would indulge their bestial lust and forsake their children, but they create the purity of marriage, whence arise the families; the fathers would exercise their paternal powers over the clients without moderation, but they subject them to civil power, whence arise the cities; the reigning orders of nobles would abuse their seigneural freedom over the plebeians, but they fall under the servitude of laws which create popular liberty; the free people would break loose from the restraint of their laws, but they fall subject to monarchs…. By their always acting thus, the same things come to be.32 Yet, this Providence is hardly a religious, not to say a Catholic, concept, for it is in-built in the very process of humanization (the birth of nations) and does not leave any room for any form of transcendence. Mankind would behave in that way with or without the supervision of an all-powerful Deity and, for this reason, Vico’s Providence is, so to speak, a Providence without a God. In the end, the five books and the 1,112 paragraphs of the final version of the Scienza Nuova of 1744 may seem to prove unequal to the gigantic task Vico had glimpsed himself accomplishing. For one thing, it was necessary to command far more philological and anthropological scholarship, and especially to be in possession of a more worked-out methodological thought as regards its organization and presentation.33 Nevertheless, truncated as it now appears, Vico’s accomplishment in the Scienza Nuova is admirable in terms of its originality in the role that he (perhaps unwittingly) attributed to the nonrational in man’s protracted search for his own social being: the inquiry into ‘truth’ in its historical dimension, into the creation of the city and of civilized existence, and into the capacity we possess—or we lack—of grasping other men’s expectations and fears. In a word, Vico was trying to formulate the credentials we can legitimately attribute to historical knowledge of any sort. If neither the verum factum canon nor the labyrinthine expositions of the Scienza Nuova appear to us wholly satisfactory, we should perhaps remember that the theory of truth, like the Greek Argos of old, has a hundred eyes. The merit of having spotted several of them, and not the feeblest ones, is the indisputable basis of Vico’s intellectual achievement. NOTES 1 Cf. Jules Chaix-Ruy, ‘La fortune de G.B.Vico’, in [13.16], 124–52. The myth of Vico’s isolation in Naples has been exposed, among others, by Nicola Badaloni in his two books, [13.26] and [13.27] and in his article ‘Vico nell’ ambito della filosofia europea’, [13.12], 233–66. Badaloni stresses Vico’s links with the Accademia degli Investiganti and other local circles of the Neapolitan Enlightenment. Cf. also G.Bedani, Vico Revisited. Orthodoxy, Naturalism and Science in the Scienza Nuova, Oxford, 1989, pp. 7–32, and A.Battistini, ‘Momenti e tendenze degli studi vichiani dal 1978 al 1985’, Giambattista Vico. Poesia, Logica, Religione, ed. G.Santinelli, Brescia, Morcelliana, 1986, pp. 27–102. 2 [13.47], ‘Conclusione’, 219–26: ‘egli fu né più né meno che il secolo decimonono in germe’ (p.226). 3 B.Spaventa, La filosofia italiana nelle sue relazioni con la filosofia europea, Bari, Berg, 1908, pp. 31,60. 4 Cf. E.Leach, ‘Vico and the Future of Anthropology’, [13.20], 149–59; J.H. White, ‘Developmental Psychology and Vico’s Concept of Universal History’, [13.20], 1–3; Silvano Arietti, ‘Vico and Modern Psychiatry’, [13.20], 81–94 (on Vico and Freud). 5 Cf. [13.77], esp. 24–89, and 105–15; Gustavo Costa, ‘Vico and Ancient Rhetoric’, Classical Influences on Western Thought, ed. R.R.Bolgar, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1979, pp. 247–62; E.Grassi, ‘Critical Philosophy or Topical Philosophy? Meditations on the De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione’, [13.18], 39–50 (Italian version in [13.3], 108–21). 6 [13.3], 68–9 (my trans.). Cf. [13.22], 31–45. This is the first recorded formulation of the verum factum principle. 7 On the young Vico’s scientific background, cf. P.Rossi’s historical account, ‘Ancora sui contemporanei di Vico’, Rivista di filosofia 76(1985): 465–74; M. Torrini, ‘Il problema del rapporto tra scienza e filosofia nel pensiero del primo Vico’, Physis 20(1978): 103–21. J.Barnouw has reviewed the different trends of research in [13.29], 609–20. Barnouw’s thesis does not refer specifically to the De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia, but the author maintains that ‘Vico’s development…supports the view that the new sciences of the 17th century, from Galileo on, provided the crucial inspiration and model for the formation of the human sciences’ (p.609). This is more or less the route Comte took, but it hardly squares with the methods of Vico in the Scienza Nuova, despite his own claim that he is applying Bacon’s method (par. 163; cf. also 137, 359). Cf. n. 33 below. 8 Cf. Richard Popkin, A History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza, rev. edn. London, University of California Press, 1979, Preface, p. xvii. 9 De Antiqmssima Italorum Sapientia was also called liber prias metaphysicus; in Vico’s original project, a liber secundus physicus and a liber tertius moralis were to follow. Some notes prepared for the second book were published fifty years after Vico’s death, assembled as a monograph entitled De Aequilibrio Corporis Animantis, a book now lost. Vico appears to have begun working on the Scienza Nuova fairly soon after the publication of the De Antiqmssima. Cf. [13.8], Introduction. 10 Vico stresses that the cogito is a sign, but not a cause of my being. Vico uses here the Greek term tekmērion, a word of Stoic echoes. This is Vico’s sceptic reply to Descartes: The dogmatist…would allow that the sceptic acquires knowledge of his being from awareness of his thinking, since the unshakable certainty of existence is born from his awareness of thinking. And, of course, no one can be wholly certain that he exists unless he makes up his own being out of something he cannot doubt. Consequently, the sceptic cannot be certain that he is because he does not gather his existence from a wholly undoubted principle. To all this the sceptic will respond by denying that knowledge of being is acquired from consciousness of thinking. For, he argues, to know (scire) is to be cognizant (nosse) of the causes out of which a thing is born. But I who think am mind and body, and if thought were the cause of my being, thought would be the cause of the body. Yet there are bodies that do not think. Rather, it is because I consist of body and mind that I think; so that body and mind united are the cause of thought. For if I were only body I would not think. If I were only mind, I would have /pure/ intelligence. In fact, thinking is the sign and not the cause of my being mind. But the sure sign (techmerium) is not the cause, for the clever sceptic will not deny that certainity of sure /rational/ signs, but just the certainty of causes. ([13–8], 55–6; [13–6], 72–5) 11 [13.8], 57; De Antiquissima, I, iv [13.6], 741. This subchapter is entitled ‘God is the comprehension of all causes—Divine Knowledge is the norm of human knowledge’. 12 [13.3], 63–4; [13.8], 4 5f. (italics added). Cf. also the following: ‘Amongst human sciences only those are true which…have elements which we coordinate and are contained within ourselves…and when we put together such elements, we are becoming authors of such truths /et cum ea componimus, vera quae… cognoscimus, faciamus/ [13.3], 62f, 68f, 73f. 13 [13.3], 149; [13.8], 157. In [13.3], 155 Vico recognizes that the value of every thing he is proposing does not stem from ‘the force and evidence of the reasons advanced’, for in lexical questions usage and authority overshadow the innermost meanings of speech. 14 [13.8], 167; [13.3], 156. 15 [13.48], 233–59. Cf. also G.Gentile, Studi vichiani: Lo svolgimento della filosofia vichiana (1912–15), Opère Complete, vol. xvi, Florence, Sansoni, 19633. 16 Amos Funkenstein, Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1986, 290–345; esp. 296–9; R.Mondolfo, Il verum factum prima di Vico, Bari, Guida, 1969, and the criticisms levelled against this book by Maria Donzelli, ‘Studi vichiani e storia delle idee. (A proposito di un saggio di Rodolfo Mondolfo)’, Filosofia 21(1970): 33–48; and A.Pérez-Ramos, Francis Bacon’s Idea of Science and the Maker’s Knowledge Tradition, Oxford, Clarendon, 1988, pp. 48–62, 167–96. 17 In Aristotle’s Politica 1282a17ff. we read: About some things the man who made them would not be the only nor the best judge, as in the case of professionals whose products come within the knowledge of lay men also (hoi mē echontes tēn technfin): to judge a house, for instance, does not belong only to the man who built it, but in fact the man who uses the house (the householder) will be an even better judge of it, and a steerman judges a rudder better than a carpenter, and the diner judges a banquet better than the cook. [(Loeb edn, trans. H.Rachman, 227)] Plato resorted to the same sort of confutation in several places (Euthydemus 289A-D, Cratylns 390 B, Meno 88 E), and especially in Republic 601 E-602 A: The user of anything is the one who knows most of it by experience, and he reports to the maker the good and bad effects in the use of the thing he uses. As, for example, the flute-player reports to the flute-maker which flutes respond and serve rightly in flute-playing, and will order the kind that must be made and the other will obey him…. The one, then, possessing knowledge (epistēmēn) reports about the goodness or badness of the flutes, and the other, believing, will make them…. Then, in respect to the same implement, the maker will have right belief (pistin orthēn) about its excellent and defects from association with the man who knows,…but the user will have true knowledge. [(Loeb edn, trans. P.Shorey, 445–7)] It is tempting to perceive in these statements a dim reflection of social conditions amongst the Greeks. 18 Cf. Philo of Alexandria (floruit c. AD 40), Quod Deus Immutabilis sit, in Complete Works I, 22–3, (Loeb edn, trans. F.H.Colson and G.H.Whittaker, repr. 1960); cf. also De Opificio Mundi I, 20–1. For a treatment of this topic by mediaeval Jewish and Christian philosophers, in the context of God’s self-knowledge qua Creator, cf. A.Funkenstein, Theology and the Scientific Imagination, p. 291f. For mathematics, cf. Proclus’ Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements, ed. and trans. P.R.Morrow, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1970, Prologue 11–12 and 64. The soul is equipped with mathematical patterns (paradeigmata) which it brings forth as projections (probolai) of its own making. Proclus’ Platonism is fairly similar to Vico’s in that both purport to find the seeds of truth hidden in man’s creative mind. 19 Cf. [13.24], 321ff., Hans Blumenberg, ‘“Nachahmung der Natur”: zur Vorgeschichte des schöpferischen Menschen’, Studium Generale 10 (1957): 266–83), and Cusanus und Nolanus, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Suhrkamp, 1973. 20 Cf. Vinzenz Rüfner, ‘Homo secundus Deus. Eine gestesgeschichtliche Studie zum menschlichen Schöpfertum’, Philosophisches Jahrbuch 63(1955): 248–91; A. Funkenstein, Theology and the Scientific Imagination, pp. 290–345; Jürgen Klüver, Operationismus. Kritik und Geschichte einer Philosophie der exakten Wissenscbaften, Stuttgart, Frommann- Holzboog 1971, pp. 38–52; and A.Perez-Ramos, Francis Bacon’s Idea of Science, pp. 135– 98. 21 Joseph Glanvill, Plus Ultra, or the Progress and Advancement of Learning, London, 1668, p. 35. 22 Religio Medici I, 13 (1642/43, written in the mid-1630s), ed. with Introduction and notes by C.A.Patrides (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1977, repr. 1984), p. 74. 23 ‘Six Lessons to the Savillian Professors of Mathematics’, English Works, ed. W. Molesworth, London, 1838–45, VI, pp. 183–4; repr. Scientia Verlag, Aalen 1961–6. Cf. Arthur Child, Making and Knowing in Hobbes, Vico and Dewey, Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1953, pp. 271–83, and W.Sacksteder, ‘Hobbes: the Art of the Geometricians’, Journal of the History of Ideas 18(1980): 131–46, and his ‘Hobbes: Geometrical Objects’, Philosophy of Science 48(1981): 573–90. Mathematics was not, however, the sole direction in which Hobbes developed his constructivist stance. As with the later Vico, there is a second interpretation of this topos, once it is realized that the State, no less than mathematicals, is a man-made product: To men is granted knowledge only of those things whose generation depends upon their own judgement. Hence the theories concerning quantity, knowledge of which is called geometry, are demonstrable. There is a geometry and it is demonstrable because we ourselves make the figures. In addition, politics and ethics, namely, knowledge of the just and the unjust, of the equitable and the unequitable, can be demonstrated a priori: in fact its principles, the conception of the just and the equitable and their opposites, are known to us because we ourselves create the causes of justice, that is, laws and conventions. De Homine II, 10, Opera Philosophica quae latine scripsit (same edn) II, pp. 92–4; cf. also De Cive XVII and De Corpore XXV 24 [13.3], 68–9; [13.8], 52. Vico, however, tries to provide a rationale for successful explanation in physics: Those theories /ea meditata/ are approved in physics which have some similarity with what we do /simile quid operemus/. For this reason, hypotheses about the natural order are considered most illuminating and are accepted with the fullest consent of everyone, if we can base experiments on them, in which we make something similar to Nature. (ibid.) 25 Cf. D.P.Lachterman, The Ethics of Geometry. A Genealogy of Modernity, London, Routledge, 1989, pp. 1–24. For other expositions of the verum factum topos, cf. W.Vossenkuhl, Wahrheit des Handels. Untersuchungen zum Verhältnis von Wahrheit und Handeln, Bonn, Bouvier, 1974, pp. 1–43; Stephen Otto, ‘Vico als Transzendentalphilosoph’, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 62(1980): 67–80, and ‘Interprétation transcendentale de Paxiome “verum et factum convertuntur” ’, Archives de Philosophie 40(1977): 13–39. Against this interpretation, cf. F.Fellmann, ‘1st Vicos “Neue Wissenschaft” Transzendentalphilosophie?’, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 61(1979): 68–76. Many points of this debate are summarized in J.C.Morrison, ‘Three Interpretations of Vico’, Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (1978): 511–18. 26 The Scienza Nuova is a rather ambitious work. It purports to contain: (a) a ‘civil and rational theory of Providence’, i.e. a demonstration of the way Providence supposedly acts in social life; (2) a ‘philosophy of authority’, or on the origins of property (auctores); (3) a ‘history of human ideas’, especially the oldest ones in the religious field; (4) a ‘philosophical critique’ of the most remote religious traditions; (5) an ‘eternal ideal history’, showing the alwaysrepeated route the nations run; (6) a ‘system of natural law of the nations’, based on primitive necessity and usefulness; and (7) a science of the oldest and darkest beginnings or principles of ‘universal human history’, where Vico tries to interpret the hidden truth of mythological fables. All in all, Vico aims at what we might call an exploration of the ‘savage mind’ in the age of gods and heroes. In this sense the Scienza Nuova purports to advance a rational theory of the mondo civile. Cf. K.Löwith, Meaning in History, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1949, ch. vi. 27 Par. 331. [13.3], 461; [13.5], 96. Vico, however, does not forget the theological sanction of the verum factum topos in par. 349: For the first indubitable principle posited above /par. 331/ is that this world of nations has certainly been made by men, and its guise /la guisa/ must therefore be found within the modifications of our own human mind /le modificazioni della nostra mente umana/. And history cannot be more certain than when he who creates the things also narrates them. Now, as geometry, when it constructs the world of quantity out of its elements, or contemplates that world, is creating it of itself, just so does our science/ create for itself/ the world of nations/, but with a reality greater by just so much as the institutions having to do with human affairs /gli ordini d’intorno alle faccende degli uomini/ are more real than points, lines, surfaces and figures are. And this very fact is an argument, O reader, that these proofs are of a kind divine and should give thee a divine pleasure, since in God knowledge and creation are one and the same thing. Cf. [13.3], 467; [13.5], 104f. 28 ‘Vico and Marx: Notes on a Precursory Reading’, [13.21], 38–61, esp. 51. 29 Cf. Karl-Otto Apel, Die Erklären-Verstehen Kontroverse in transzendeltalpragmatischer Sicht, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Suhrkamp, 1979; J.R.Martin, ‘Another Look at the Doctrine of Verstehen’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 20 (1969): 53–67; W.Bourgedis, ‘Verstehen in the Social Sciences’, Zeitschrift für allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 7 (1976):26–38. 30 I.Berlin, ‘Vico’s Concept of Knowledge’, in [13.18], 375f. For a criticism of Berlin’s views cf. [13.84], 159ff. 31 A.Funkenstein, Theology and the Scientific Imagination, pp. 202–89, esp. pp. 279–89. Vico’s secularized Providence and the autonomy he attributes to the course of human history bears a strong resemblance with some of Spinoza’s doctrines, despite Vico’s claims about man’s free will. Cf. A.Pons, ‘L’ idee de développement chez Vico’, in Entre Forme et Histoire, ed. O.Bloch, B.Balan and P.Carrive, Paris, Meridiens Klincksieck, 1988, pp. 181–94; [13.77], 49–68; J.Samuel Preus, ‘Spinoza, Vico and the Imagination of Religion’, Journal of the History of Ideas 49 (1988): 71–93. 32 Sc. N. par. 1108; [13.5], pp. 700f. Cf. also par. 341: But men, because of their corrupted nature, are under the tyranny of self-love, which compels them to make private utility their chief guide. Seeking everything useful for themselves and nothing for their companions, they cannot bring their passion under control /porre in conato/ to direct them towards justice. We thereby establish that man in the bestial state desires only his own welfare /la sua salvezza/; having taken wife and begotten children, he desires his own welfare along with that of the nation; when the nations are united by wars, treaties of peace, alliances, and commerce, he desires his own welfare along with that of his family; having entered upon civil life, he desires his own welfare along with that of his city; when its rule is extended over several peoples, he desires his own welfare along with that of the BIBLIOGRAPHY Works in Italian and English 13.1 Opere di Giambattista Vico, ed. with textual and historical notes by Fausto Nicolini, in collaboration with Giovanni Gentile (vol. i) and Benedetto Croce (vol. v), 8 vols, Bari, Laterza, 1911–41. 13.2 Opere di Giambattista Vico, ed. with an Introduction and notes by F.Nicolini, Milan and Naples, Ricciardi, 1953. 13.3 Opere Filosofiche, texts, translations and notes by Paolo Cristofolini, with an Introduction by Nicola Badaloni, Florence, Sansoni, 1971. 13.4 Opere Giuridiche, ed. Paolo Cristofolini with an Introduction by Nicola Badaloni, Florence, Sansoni, 1974. 13.5 The New Science of Giambattista Vico, trans. with an Introduction by T.G. Berlin and M.H.Fisch, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, 1948, repr. 1988. 13.6 The Autobiography of Giambattista Vico, trans. T.G.Bergin and M.H. Fisch, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, 1944, repr. 1975. 13.7 On the Study Methods of Our Time, trans. with an Introduction and notes by Elio Gianturco, Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1965. 13.8 On the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians, Unearthed from the Origins of the Latin Language, Including the Disputation with the Giornale de’ Letterati d’Italia, trans. with an Introduction and notes by L.M.Palmer, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, 1988. 13.9 Vico: Selected Writings, ed. and trans. L.Pompa, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982. whole human race. In all these circumstances man desires principally his own utility. Therefore, it is only by divine providence that he can be held within these institutions /dentro tali ordini/ to practice justice as a member of the society of the family, the city, and finally of mankind. Unable to attain all the utilities he wishes, he is constrained by these institutions to seek those which are his due: and this is called just. That which regulates all human justice is therefore divine justice, which is administered /ministrata/ by divine providence to preserve human society. (Scienza Nuova, par. 341, [13.5], pp. 101f.) Because of that, Vico adds in the next paragraph (342) that his science must be a rational civil theology of divine providence (cf. also par. 385). On this question, see S.R.Luft, ‘A Genetic Interpretation of Divine Providence in Vico’s New Science’, Journal of the History of Philosophy 30 (1982): 151–69. On the method of the Scienza Nuova Vico is impenetrably opaque. He claims (n. 7 above) that he is deploying Bacon’s method in human affairs (par. 163), but Vico mentions the somewhat atypical Cogitata et Visa insted of, as expected, the Novum Organum. E.McMullin has studied this question in ‘Vico’s Theory of Science’, in [13.20], 60–89. He terms Vico’s method ‘hypothetico-suggestive’ (p. 83). Bibliographies and Journals 13.10 Croce, B. Bihliografia vichiana, with additions by F.Nicolini, 2 vols, Naples, Ricciardi 1947–8. 13.11 Donzelli, M. Contributo alla bibliografia vichiana (1948–1970), Naples, Guida, 1973. 13.12 Tagiacozzo, G., Verene, D.P. and Rumble, V. A Bibliography of Vico in English, 1884–1984, Philosophy Documentation Center, Ohio, Bowling Green State University, 1986. 13.13 Bolletino del Centro di Studi Vichiani, Naples, 1971–. 13.14 New Vico Studies, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1983–. 13.15 Studi Vichiani, Naples, Guida, 1969–. Collective Works of Criticism 13.16 Campanella e Vico, Publications of the Archivio di filosofia, Padua, CED AM, 1969. 13.17 Omaggio a Vico, Naples, Morano, 1968. 13.18 Giambattista Vico: An International Symposium, ed. G.Tagliacozzo andH. V.White, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969. 13.19 Giambattista Vico’s Science of Humanity, ed. G.Tagliacozzo and D.Verene, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. 13.20 Vico and Contemporary Thought, ed. G.Tagliacozzo, M.Mooney and D.P. Verene, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1979, 2 vols; two vols in one, 1981. 13.21 Vico and Marx: Affinities and Contrasts, ed. G.Tagliacozzo and D.P.Verene, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1983. Books and Articles (Those articles to be found in Collective Works of Criticism (above) are excluded.): 13.22 Amerio, F. Introduzione allö studio di Giambattista Vico, Turin, Società Editrice Internazionale, 1947. 13.23——‘Vico e il barocco’, Giornale di metafisica 3(1948): 157–63. 13.24 Apel, K.O. Die Idee der Sprache in der Tradition des Humanismus von Dante bis Vico, Bonn, Bouvier Verlag, 1980 (3rd edn). 13.25 Auerbach, E. ‘Sprachliche Beiträge zur Erklärung der der Scienza Nuova von Giambattista Vico’, Archivum Romanicum 21(1937): 173–84. 13.26 Badaloni, N. Introduzione a Giambattista Vico. Milan, Feltrinelli, 1961. 13.27——Introduzione a Vico, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1984. 13.28 Barnouw, J. The Relation between the Certain and the True in Vico’s Pragmatist Construction of Human History’, Comparative Literature Studies 15(1978):242–62. 13.29——‘Vico and the Continuity of Science: the Relation of his Epistemology to Bacon and Hobbes’, Isis 71(1980): 609–20. 13.30 Battistini, A. ‘Vico e l’etimologia mitopoietica’, Lingua e Stile 9 (1974): 31–66. 13.31 Bellofiore, L. La dottrina de I la Provvidenza in Vico, Padua, CEDAM, 1962. 13.32 Berlin, I. Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas, New York, Viking Press, 1976. 13.33 Burke, P. Vico, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1985. 13.34 Cantelli, G. Mente, corpo, linguaggio. Saggio sull interpretazione vichiana del mito, Firenze, Sansoni, 1986. 13.35 Caponigri, A. Time and Idea. The Theory of History in Giambattista Vico, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953. 13.36——‘Vico and the Theory of History’, Giornale di Metafisica 9(1954): 183–97. 13.37 Chaix-Ruy, J. La Formation de la pensee philosophique de Giambattista Vico, Gap, L.Jean, 1943. Giambattsita Vico et Villuminisme athée, Paris, Del Duca, 1968. 13.38 Child, A. Making and Knowing in Hobbes, Vico and Dewey, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1953. 13.39 Ciardo, M. Le quattro epoche dello storicismo: Vico, Kant, Hegel, Croce, Bari, Laterza, 1947. 13.40 Corsano, A. Giambattista Vico, Bari, Laterza, 1956. 13.41——Il pensiero religioso italiano dall’umanesimo al giurisdizionalismo, Bari, Laterza, 1937. 13.42——Umanesimo e religione in Giambattista Vico, Bari, Laterza, 1953. 13.43 Costa, G. Le antichità germaniche nella cultura italiana da Machiavelli a Vico, Naples, Bibliopolis, 1977. 13.44——‘Giambattista Vico e la “natura simpatetica” ’, Giornale critico della filosofia italiana 47(1968):401–18. 13.45——La leggenda dei secoli d’oro nella letteratura italiana, Bari, Laterza, 1972. 13.46——‘Vico and Ancient Rhetoric’, Eighteenth Century Studies 11(1978): 247–62. 13.47 Croce, B. La filosofia di Giambattista Vico, Bari, Laterza, 1911; 6th edn 1962. Trans. R.G.Collingwood as The Philosophy of G.B.Vico London, 1913; repr. New York, Russell and Russell, 1964. 13.48——Te fonti della gnoseologia vichiana’, Studio sullo Hegel, Bari, Laterza, 1912, 1967, pp. 233–59. 13.49 De Mas, E. ‘Bacone e Vico’, Filosofia 10(1959): 505–59. 13.50——‘On the new Method of a New Science: A Study of Giambattista Vico’, Journal of the History of Ideas 32(1971): 85–94. 13.51 De Santillana, G. ‘Vico and Descartes’, Osiris 21 (1950): 565–80. 13.52 Fassò, Guido, ‘Genesi storica e genesi logica delia filosofia delia Scienza Nuova’, Rivista internazionale di filosofia del diritto 25(1948):319–36. 13.53 Fellmann, F. Das Vico-Axiom: Der Mensch macht die Geschichte, Freiburg und Munich, Verlag Karl Alber, 1976. 13.54——‘Vicos Theorem der Gleichursprünglichkeit von Theorie und Praxis und die dogmatische Denkform’, Philosophisches Jahrhuch 84(1978):259–73. 13.55 Flint, R. Vico, Edinburgh and London, W.Blackpool and Sons, 1884. 13.56 Focher, F. Vico e Hobbes, Naples, Giannini, 1977. 13.57 Fornaca, R. Ilpensiero educativo di Giambattista Vico, Turin, G.Giappichelli, 1957– 13.58 Fubini, M. Stile e umanità di Giambattista Vico, 2nd edn, Naples, Ricciardi, 1965. 13.59 Funkenstein, A. Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1986. 13.60 Garin, E. ‘Cartesio e l’Italia’, Giornale critico delta filosofia italiana, 4(1950): 385–405. 13.61——Storia della filosofia italiana, 3 vols, Turin, Einaudi, 1966. 13.62 Gaukroger, S. ‘Vico and the Maker’s Knowledge Principle’, History of Philosophy Quarterly 3(1986): 29–44. 13.63 Gentile, G. Studi vichiani, 3rd enlarged edn as vol. xvi of the Opère, Florence, Sansoni, 1968. 13.64 Grassi, E. Rhetoric as Philosophy, University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1980. 13.65 Haddock, B. ‘Vico’s Discovery of the True Homer: A Case Study in Historical Reconstruction’, Journal of the History of Ideas 40(1979):583–602. 13.66——Vico’s Political Thought, Swansea, Mortlake Press, 1986. 13.67 Hess, M.B. ‘Vico’s Heroic Mataphor’, Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Essays in Honour ofGerd Buchdahl, ed. R.S. Woolhose, Dordrecht, London and Boston, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1988. 13.68 Iannizzotto, M. Lempirismo nella gnoseologia di Giambattista Vico, Padua, CEDAM, 1968. 13.69 Klemm, O. Giamhattista Vico als Geschichtsphilosoph und Völkerpsycholog, Leipzig, Engelman, 1906. 13.70 Lilla, M.G. B.Vico, The Making of an Anti-Modern, Cambridge, MA and London, Harvard University Press, 1931. 13.71 Löwith, K. Meaning in History: the Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1949. 13.72——Vicos Grundsatz: Verum et factum convertuntur: seine theologische Prämisse und deren säkularen Konsequenzen, Heidelberg, C. Winter, 1968. 13.73 Mali, J. The Rehabilitation of Myth: Vico’s New Science, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992. 13.74 Manno, A.G. Lo storicismo di Giambattista Vico, Naples, Istituto editoriale del Mezzogiorno , 1965. 13.75 Manson, R. The Theory of Knowledge of Giambattista Vico: On the Method of the New Science concerning the Common Nature of the Nations, Hamden, Conn., Anchor Books, 1969. 13.76 Meinecke, F. Die Entstehung des Historismus, 4th edn, Munich, Oldenbourg, 1959– 13.77 Mooney, M. Vico in the Tradition of Rhetoric, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1985. 13.78 Morrison, J.C. ‘Vico and Spinoza’, Journal of the History of Ideas 41(1980): 49– 68. 13.79——‘Vico’s Doctrine of the Natural Law of the Gentes’, Journal of the History of Philosophy 16(1978):47–60. 13.80 Nicolini, F. Commento storico alla seconda Scienza Nuova, 2 vols, Rome, Storia e letteratura 1949–50; repr. Rome, Storia e letteratura, 1978. 13.81——Saggi vichiani, Naples, Giannini, 1955. 13.82 O’Neill, J. ‘Vico on the Natural Workings of the Mind’, Phenomenology and the Human Sciences, 117–25 (suppl. to Philosophical Topics 12, 1981. 13.83 Pérez-Ramos, A. ‘La emergencia del sujeto en las ciencias humanas’, La crisis de la razon, M. Foucault et al., Murcia, Pub. Universidad de Murcia, 1986, pp. 163–202. 13.84 Pompa, L. Vico: A Study of the New Science, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1975; 2nd edn 1990. 13.85——Human Nature and Historical Knowledge: Hume, Hegel and Vico, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990. 13.86 Rossi, P. Le sterminate antiquità: Studi vichiani, Pisa, Nistri-Lischi, 1969. 13.87——I segni del tempo. Storia della terra e storia delle nazioni da Hooke a Vico, Milan, Feltrinelli, 1979. 13.88 Vasoli, C. ‘Topica, retorica e argomentazione nella prima filosofia di Vico’, Revue Internationale de Philosophie 33(1979):188–201. 13.89 Verene, D.P. Vico’s Science of the Imagination, New York, Cornell University Press, 1981. 13.90 Viechtbauer, H. Transzendentale Einsicht und Theorie der Geschichte: Überlegungen zu G.V.Vicos “Liber Metaphysicus”, Munich, Fink, 1977. 13.91 Vossenkuhl, W. Wahrheit des Handels. Untersuchungen zum Verhältnis von Wahrheit und Handeln, Bonn, Bouvier Verlag, 1974. 13.92 Werner, K. Giambattista Vico als Philosoph und gelehrter Forscher, 1879; repr. New York, Burt Franklin, 1962.

Routledge History of Philosophy. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vico, Giambattista — born June 23, 1668, Naples died Jan. 23, 1744, Naples Italian philosopher of cultural history and law. In his major work, New Science (1725), he attempted to combine history and the more systematic social sciences into a single science of… …   Universalium

  • Vico, Giambattista — (1668–1744) Italian philosopher of history. Vico was born in Naples, and educated by the Jesuits. From 1699 he held the lowly chair of rhetoric at the university of Naples. Vico s principal work was the Scienza Nova (1725, recast in new editions… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Vico, Giambattista — ► (1668 1744) Filósofo e historiador italiano. Por su obra capital Principios de una nueva ciencia (1725), ha sido justamente considerado el iniciador de la filosofía de la historia, ya que fue el primer historiador que se propuso desentrañar por …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Vico — Vico, Giambattista …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Giambattista Vico — Born Giovanni Battista Vico 23 June 1668(1668 06 23) Naples, Kingdom of Naples Died 23 January 1744( …   Wikipedia

  • Giambattista Vico — Giambattista Vico. Giambattista Vico, Giambattista Vigo o Giovanbattista Vico (23 de junio de 1668 23 de enero de 1744), fue un abogado, filósofo de la historia y protosociólogo [cita requerida] napolitano. Notable por su concepto de verdad …   Wikipedia Español

  • Vico — (Ál.) m. Hoyo de jugar a las *canicas. * * * vico. m. coloq. Ál. boche2. * * * Vico, Antonio Vico, Giambattista …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Vico — (Giambattista) (1668 1744) historien, philosophe et philologue italien. Selon Principes d une science nouvelle concernant la nature des nations (1725), tout peuple connaît le développement suivant: l âge divin ou mythique, caractérisé par la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Giambattista — (as used in expressions) Bodoni Giambattista Marino Giambattista Giambattista Piazzetta Giambattista Piranesi Giambattista Tiepolo Vico Giambattista * * * …   Universalium

  • Giambattista — (as used in expressions) Bodoni, Giambattista Marino, Giambattista Giambattista Piazzetta Giambattista Piranesi Giambattista Tiépolo Vico, Giambattista …   Enciclopedia Universal


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.