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Giambattista Vico

Keys to the "New Science"

Thora Ilin Bayer, Donald Phillip Verene

Publication Year: 2008

Giambattista Vico: Keys to the "New Science" brings together in one volume translations, commentaries, and essays that illuminate the background of Giambattista Vico's major work. Thora Ilin Bayer and Donald Phillip Verene have collected a series of texts that help us to understand the progress of Vico's thinking, culminating in the definitive version of the New Science, which was published in 1744.

Bayer and Verene provide useful introductions both to the collection as a whole and to the individual writings. What emerges is a clear picture of the decades-long process through which Vico elaborated his revolutionary theory of history and culture. Of particular interest are the first sketch of the new science from his earlier work, the Universal Law, and Vico's response to the false book notice regarding the first version of his New Science.

The volume also includes additions to the 1744 edition that Vico had written out but that do not appear in the English translations-including his brief chapter on the "Reprehension of the Metaphysics of Descartes, Spinoza, and Locke"-and a bibliography of all of Vico's writings that have appeared in English. Giambattista Vico: Keys to the "New Science" is a unique and vital companion for anyone reading or rereading this landmark of Western intellectual history.

Published by: Cornell University Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 3-6


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

All translations, commentaries, and essays are reprinted, revised, and edited from these issues of New Vico Studies, published by the Philosophy Documentation Center for the Institute for Vico Studies. The illustrations are reproduced from historical editions of Vico’s works. ...


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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Interpreting the New Science

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pp. 1-14

Giambattista Vico’s New Science was published in two versions, one in 1725 and another in 1730. In his Autobiography Vico refers to these as the First New Science and the Second New Science (A 192). Prior to the First New Science Vico published his three books of Universal Law (1720 –22). ...

Part 1. Background of the New Science in the Universal Law (1720 –1722)

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Synopsis of Universal Law

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pp. 17-38

In the 1720s, prior to the first version of his New Science (1725), Vico published three volumes in Latin grouped under the general Italian title Il diritto universale. To announce this work, Vico had printed four densely written pages in Italian that are untitled but are commonly called Sinopsi del diritto universale. ...

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The True and the Certain: From On the One Principle and One End of Universal Law

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pp. 39-44

The philosophical problem that Giambattista Vico finds in the law is the relationship of the true (verum) and the certain (certum)—that is, the connection that exists in the law between the law as rational and universally valid and the law as positive, historical (the product of human will deriving validity from authority as present in particular societies). ...

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A New Science Is Essayed: From On the Constancy of the Jurisprudent

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pp. 45-60

The second book of Giambattista Vico’s Universal Law, On the Constancy of the Jurisprudent, is divided into two major parts. The first is “On the Constancy of Philosophy,” and the second is “On the Constancy of Philology.” Vico begins this second part with a sketch of a “new science” that will be based on a reconception of philology. ...

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On Homer and His Two Poems: From the Dissertations

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pp. 61-72

The third book of Vico’s Universal Law contains, in addition to notes on the first two books, a series of short Dissertations. In his Autobiography Vico says he “read both the poems of Homer in the light of his principles of philology”; and by certain canons of mythology that he had conceived, ...

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Vico’s Address to His Readers from a Lost Manuscript on Jurisprudence

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pp. 73-82

In the Villarosa collection of Giambattista Vico’s manuscripts in the National Library in Naples there is an autograph of two sheets of paper, written on three sides in Latin, with the title “Ad Lectores Aequanimos.” I have examined these pages, which are written in Vico’s characteristically legible hand in neat lines. ...

Part 2. Reception of the First New Science (1725)

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Vico’s Reply to the False Book Notice: The Vici Vindiciae

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pp. 85-106

In October 1725 Giambattista Vico published in Naples what he later in his Autobiography, called the First New Science (A 192–94). In August 1729, four years after its publication, there appeared in a bookstore in Naples an issue of the Leipzig Acta Eruditorum of August 1727, ...

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Vindication of Vico

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pp. 107-136

One of my true friends, in this current month of August of the year 1729, informed me that among your “New Literary Works” of the month of August of the year 1727 I and my book are unfavorably received by you, illustrious gentlemen of letters of Leipzig; ...

Part 3. Additions to the Second New Science (1730/1744)

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pp. 137-142

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Vico’s “IGNOTA LATEBAT”: On the Impresa and the Dipintura

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pp. 143-166

Giambattista Vico published the first edition of his New Science in October 1725. It has come to be known as the First New Science (Scienza nuova prima), the term that Vico himself applied to it in his Autobiography (A 192–94). The frontespizio, or what is commonly known in contemporary English-language books ...

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Vico’s Addition to the Tree of the Poetic Sciences and His Use of the Muses

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pp. 167-178

These are the general aspects from which this science can be regarded. Indeed, from this first principle [religion, Jove] of all things divine and human of the gentiles, that which we have found within this metaphysics of the human race, this sublime science alone will give us the principles of all the other subaltern sciences ...

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Vico’s Reprehension of the Metaphysics of René Descartes, Benedict Spinoza, and John Locke

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pp. 179-198

Therefore, if one does not begin from—“a god who to all men is Jove,”2—one cannot have any idea either of science or of virtue. Thus is easily dismissed the supposition of Polybius, who says that if there were philosophers in the world, there would be no need of religions!3 ...

Appendix: Vico’s Writings in English Translation

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pp. 199-204


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pp. 205-209

The Editors

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pp. 210-226

E-ISBN-13: 9780801458354
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801447334

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1

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  • Vico, Giambattista, 1668-1744. Principi di una scienza nuova.
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