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Vico's "New Science"

Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) is best remembered for his major work, the New Science (Scienza nuova), in which he sets forth the principles of humanity and gives an account of the stages common to the development of all societies in their historical life. Controversial at the time of its publication in 1725, the New Science has come to be seen as the most ambitious attempt before Comte at a comprehensive science of human society and the most profound analysis of the philosophy of history prior to Hegel. Despite the fundamental importance of the New Science, there has been no philosophical commentary of the text in any language, until now. Written by the noted Vico scholar Donald Phillip Verene, this commentary can be read as an introduction to Vico's thought or it can be employed as a guide to the comprehension of specific sections of the New Science. Following the structure of the text scrupulously, Verene offers a clear and direct discussion of the contents of each division of the New Science with close attention to the sources of Vico's thought in Greek philosophy and in Roman jurisprudence. He also highlights the grounding of the New Science in Vico's other works and the opposition of Vico's views to those of the seventeenth-century natural-law theorists. The addition of an extensive glossary of Vico's Italian terminology makes this an ideal companion to Vico's masterpiece, ideal for both beginners and specialists.
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Table of Contents

Part One: Generalities Concerning the New Science 1. Sense and Method of the New Science 2. Genesis of the New Science 3. Structure of the New Science Part Two: Idea of the Work Introduction 4. Genesis of the Frontispiece 5. Structure of the Frontispiece Part Three: Establishment of Principles Introduction 6. Chronological Table 7. Elements 8. Principles 9. Method Part Four: Poetic Wisdom Introduction 10. Tree of Poetic Wisdom 11. Poetic Metaphysics 12. Poetic Logic 13. Poetic Morals, Economy, and Politics 14. Poetic Sciences Part Five: Discovery of the True Homer Introduction 15. Search for the True Homer 16. Discovery of the True Homer Part Six: Course and Recourse of the Nations Introduction 17. Threefold Structure of the Course of the Nations 18. Recourse of the Nations Part Seven: Conclusion of the Work 19. On an Eternal Natural Republic Notes Glossary of Italian Terms Key to English Equivalents Chronological Summary of Vico's Life and Principal Works: Historical, Philosophical, and Juridical Some Works of Secondary Literature on Vico Index of Names

About the Author

Donald Phillip Verene is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy and Director of the Institute for Vico Studies at Emory University and a fellow of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. He is the author of books including Vico's "New Science": A Philosophical Commentary; Vico's Science of Imagination; and The Art of Humane Education; and he is the coeditor of Giambattista Vico: Keys to the "New Science", all from Cornell.


"Donald Phillip Verene has proven mastery of every phase of Vico's thought, coupled with a deep interest in the classical and Renaissance theories of rhetoric that Vico drew on in the New Science. In this book, Verene's patient engagement with the whole of Vico's text is beguiling, allowing the structure of Vico's argument to emerge."-Bruce Haddock, Cardiff University, author of A History of Political Thought: From Antiquity to the Present "Donald Phillip Verene is the world's leading scholar in English of Vico, and his philosophical commentary on Vico's New Science is excellent, exhaustive, even definitive. It summarizes, analyzes, and explains Vico's extraordinary work in a more comprehensive way than other books on this major philosopher and human scientist. By offering clear explanations and informed analyses, Verene has provided a singular companion to Vico's masterpiece."-Donald R. Kelley, James Westfall Thompson Professor of History Emeritus, Rutgers University, and former Executive Editor, Journal of the History of Ideas "Vico's New Science is a book indispensable to anyone engaged with the collective intellectual life of Western culture. It continues to shape the study of history, linguistics, literature, rhetoric, anthropology, myth, religion, education, culture, and politics (yes, all of these!). And if there is one book to read about Vico's New Science, it is Donald Phillip Verene's Vico's "New Science": A Philosophical Commentary. Verene combines lucid explanation with expert knowledge and judgment. This is a complete, masterful treatment of Vico's masterpiece. It covers difficult ground with great clarity and leads one back to its subject with fidelity, deeply assimilated scholarship, and wisdom. Anyone interested in humane culture will gain much from this volume."-James Engell, Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University, author of The Committed Word: Literature and Public Values

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