Horst Steinke, Vico’s Ring. Notes on the“Scienza nuova”, its Structure, and the Hermeneutics of Homer’s Works
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Vico’s Ring



) dans la philosophie allemande (One has to regard the Vichian no-

tion of “sects of times” as the “general spirit of a people”, in Montesquieu, or

as “spirit of the times” (


) and “world view” (


) in German

philosophy)» (

Principes d’une Science Nouvelle

, cit., p. XXXIX).


Cfr. V. Hösle,


, cit., pp. CCVII-CCXII, for moving back-and-

forth between Book II and IV in elucidating Vico’s thoughts on law and the

history of law.


In this connection, reference should be made to the emphasis placed

by A. M. Damiani on reading

Scienza nuova

in terms of its sociopolitical dimen-

sion, for which see the chapter entitled «La dimensión política de la



» in Id.,

La dimensión política de la Scienza Nuova

y otros estudios sobre Giam-

battista Vico,

Buenos Aires,

Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1998, pp.

35-74. According to Damiani, «[u]no de los aspectos de la

Scienza Nuova


descuidados en la historia de los estudios viquianos es la teoría política que

reconoce al hombre como autor del mundo civil ([o]ne of the most neglected

aspects of the

Scienza nuova

in the history of Vico studies is the political theory

that recognizes man as the author of the civic world)» (p. 35). See also his

view on “poetic wisdom” i.e. Book II (pp. 48-51), which revolves around «the

civic world».


Particularly relevant in this regard is Chapter VI (§§ 473-493), intro-

duced, and summarized, by the statement: «Along with this first birth of char-

acters [the alphabet] and language was also born law […]». The three major

sections (on the constitutive nature of language, the civic role of households,

governance of communities) are two-thirds of Book II, which is thus (indi-

rectly) suggestive of topic prominence.


F. Ratto, in his review of A. M. Damiani,

La dimensión política de la Scien-

za nuova

, pleaded for a broader approach: «Sin embargo, la lectura propuesta

por Damiani […] parece caracterizarse por una unilateralidad. […] Se debe

recorder que la

Scienza nuova

es también una obra teórica que enfrenta otras

problemáticas significativas, como por ejemplo, el análisis del lenguaje, la

atención por el derecho, la epistemología, la importancia del mito […] (How-

ever, the reading proposed by Damiani […] appears characterized by a certain

one-sidedness. […] one should recall that the

Scienza nuova

is also a theoretical

work that addresses other significant issues, such as, for example, analysis of

language, the study of law, epistemology, the importance of myth […])» (Id.,

review in «Educação e Filosofia»


15, 2001, 29, pp. 297-302, p. 302). Similarly,

Caianiello states: «Ciò che le età contengono, nelle versioni successive della

Scienza nuova

si amplia a coinvolgere contemporaneamente tutti gli aspetti della

cultura, molto oltre la sola caratterizzazione delle forme di governo […] (With

respect to what the ages comprise, in the successive versions of

Scienza nuova