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Horst Steinke


due movimenti – dall’alto verso il basso, e dal basso verso l’alto – sono e van-

no letti come un unico e medesimo movimento. […] Il movimento dal basso

è sì il movimento dal certo al vero, dall’




, dall’equità civile alla

naturale, ma visto alla luce dello sguardo divino, dell’

ordo rerum

(It has been

rightly observed that the frontispiece is to be “read” by traversing it not only

from the top to the bottom, but also in the opposite direction from the bot-

tom to the top, from the

ingens sylva

inhabitated by the


, from the



to Metaphysics, whose eye looks at the divine triangle. But more needs to

be said: the two movements – from the top to the bottom, and from the bot-

tom to the top – are and need to be read as a single and same movement. […]

The movement from the bottom is then the movement from the certain to

the true, from




, from civic equity to natural equity, but seen in

the light of the divine gaze, of the

ordo rerum

)» (Id.,

Vico. Storia, linguaggio, natu-


, cit., p. 26, see also p. 74). In terms of our thesis, with its trichotomous

framework, “philosophy” is embodied in the figure of Metaphysics, “philolo-

gy” in the figure of Homer, and the world of humans in the altar, its appurte-

nances, as well as the articles placed around the altar on the ground; the

movement from the top to the bottom (“top-down”) can be interpreted as

analogous to the (semi)contravariant functors, the movement from the bot-

tom to the top (“bottom-up”), to the forgetful functors.


As already mentioned above, Hösle views Vico as a clear rationalist



, cit., p. CXIV, footnote 146), and concludes that Vico did not

possess an adequate method of providing ultimate grounds for his rationalisti-

cally conceived theory («über keine ausreichende Methode verfügt, um seine

rationalistisch konzipierte Theorie zu begründen»). However, Hösle, in the

context of Croce’s Vico interpretation, also implicitly acknowledged a trichot-

omy: «Denn dies ist gerade Vicos eigenste Pointe, dass

Philosophie, Sozialwissen-




nicht zu trennen sind und dass nur aus ihrer Verbindung

eine neue Wissenscnaft hervorgehen kann (For it is precisely Vico’s unique

key claim that

philosopy, social sciences,



cannot be separated, and that a

new science can only arise out of their combination)» (


, p. CIX; italics


A similarly nuanced epistemology is evident in N. Badaloni. On the one

hand, there is clear emphasis on duality, as in the title

Ideality and Factuality in

Vico’s Thought


trans. by H. V. White, in

Giambattista Vico: An International Sym-


, cit., pp. 391-400; however, a trichotomous conception is implied by

statements as: «The science of history [“philology”] is the human recognition

of the possible relations between the


[“philosophy”] and the


» (p. 398;

italics original), and: «[…] truth [“philosophy”] is strictly bound to fact

through the mediation of the utilities [“philology”]» (p. 399).