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As discussed above, the Vichian «principles» (religion, matri-

mony, funerary rites) in Book I are not only fundamental con-

stituents of human civilization but also its beginnings


. Vico’s

preoccupation with unearthing origins, and by means of them

the true forces propelling the large-scale trajectory of civiliza-

tions, «the course the nations run» (Book IV) reaches its most

comprehensive expression in Book II, understandably giving rise

to talk of «Vico’s obsession with origins»


. In any kind of theo-

ry, in general, as well as any philosophical system, for that matter,

the most crucial elements are the fundamental premises and first

principles, and while the main body of work that flows, or is

claimed to derive from them, may be of great interest and shows

indications of being valid, the most important, indeed decisive,

part, epistemologically, is the initial premises. It is only after such

premises “pass muster” that an inquiry can properly be taken to

the next step or level. Therefore, from an epistemological stand-

point, Vico’s seemingly interminable exploration of origins in

Book II which in itself takes up as much as half of the entire


enza nuova

, plays an absolutely essential role. Rather than engag-

ing with the full scope of Book II, and its hypothesized counter-

part in Book IV, our aim is more restricted and focused; first of

all, in the context of the larger structural proposal of ring com-

position in

Scienza nuova

, Book II will be viewed through the lens

of Book IV in order to determine whether it is possible to cast

into relief any particular theme(s) out of the overwhelming rich-

ness of the material. A second area of concentration will be re-

lated to Vico’s philosophy of language, but restricted also to cer-