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Horst Steinke



G. B. Vico: el establecimiento del orden natural a través de la noción de provi-


, dissertation, Madrid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1994, online


Portale Vico



, under tab

Biblioteca digitale

. See also

R. Mazzola,

Religione e provvidenza in Vico

, in «BCSV», XXVI-XXVII, 1996-

1997, pp. 101-126; G. Bedani,

Vico Revisited

, cit., pp. 215-230. Vico scholarship

on this extremely important topic is extensive; however, our consideration of

«providence» is limited to its epistemological role which does not require

commitment (at least as best as we can determine at present) to a particular

substantive interpretation.


In §§ 343-345, providence is described as the personification of «om-

nipotence», «infinite/eternal wisdom», and «immeasurable/eternal goodness».

We may note in passing that the ideal of equity/justice that animates much of

Vico’s reflections is not expressly referred to as part of, or alternatively, in re-

lation to, providence.


It is the epistemic analogue, structurally, to “rationality” vis-vis “social

life”: «[…] il


e il


della razionalità e della socialità sembrano non co-

incidere integralmente ([…] the


and the


of rationality and social life do

not seem to fully coincide)» (M. Vanzulli,

Sulla relazione di ideale e fattuale di meta-

fisica e storia

, cit., p. 203).

As alluded to above, Vico’s incorporation of non-theoretical factors into

his framework can be seen in the context of science in general, that is, in its

practice of divising mathematical descriptions augmented by physical parame-

ters, coefficients, and constants not inherent in the mathematics. This is not

limited to the physical sciences; in the biosciences a similar melding of math-

ematics and biological parameters is the norm. See, e.g., A. Friedman,

What is

Mathematical Biology and How Useful is it?

, in «Notices of the AMS», 57, 2010, 7,

pp. 851-857; M. C. Mackey - M. Santillán,

Mathematics, Biology, and Physics: Inter-

actions and Interdependence

, in «Notices of the AMS», 52, 2005, 8, pp. 832-840.


On «providence», Otto stated: «Sea lo que sea lo que Vico entiende ba-

jo esta “providencia”, la


viquiana no es desde luego una vestidura

de fe que se le hubiera colocado por encima apresuradamente a la “Ciencia

Nueva” (Regardless of what Vico understood under “providence”, the Vi-



, of course, is not a cloak of faith that had been hastily

thrown upon the “New Science”)» (Id.,

“Contextualidad” científica y “converti-

bilidad” filosófica

, cit., p. 171).


The following comments are perceptive, but do not acknowledge the

existence of a second circularity


«Philosophy cannot, for Vico, transpire out-

side of philology, no more than philology, without the inception within it of

the movement of philosophy, can advance one step toward its term. Their

circularity is complete even though, in the expository scheme of the “New