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Vico’s Ring


des mouvements corporels. Comme il n’y a pas d’interaction entre l’âme et le

corps, qui, relevant de la pensée, n’enveloppent aucunement la notion de

l’étendue. […] On voit donc en quoi le langage réfère non au géométrique

mais à l’expérientiel (Words are bodily motions. As there is no interaction be-

tween the soul and the body, the soul, the source of thought, at no time in-

volves the notion of extension. […] One sees therefore how language refers

not to the geometrical but the experiential)» (


, pp. 310, 347).


Coseriu concluded: «Tanto la poesía (el arte) como el lenguaje, al crear

universales fantásticos, crean “mundos” (o fragmentos de mundos) solo “po-

sibles” […] (Both poetry (art) and language, by creating imaginative universals,

create “worlds” (or fragments of worlds) that are merely “possible”)» (Id.,


lugar de los universales fantásticos en la filosofía de Vico

, cit., pp. 3-22, p. 20). In the

same vein, M. Danesi: «Language is the result of this poetic capacity. Its words

are models of the world. When they are connected together by the power of

metaphor, they generate a theory of the world» (Id.,

What is Language? Vichian

Remarks on Recent Work on the Nature of the Capacity for Language,

in «NVS», 13,

1995, pp. 43-54, p. 51).


Discussion of the three ages in detail can be found throughout Vico

studies, but is not crucial for our purposes. For an excellent introduction, see

R. M. Zagarella,

Le tre “spezie” di lingue nella

Scienza nuova

di Vico: interpretazione

diacronica e funzionale

, in «Laboratorio dell’ISPF», VI, 2009, 1/2, pp. 20-36; on-

line at


. Among other things, it addresses, historically

and substantively, as the article title signals, the interpretation of the three ages

as chronologically following each other (diachronism), vs. the reading as the

concurrent presence of their idiosyncrasies (functionalism), and proposes a

reconciliation of the two views. We find ourselves in substantial agreement

with Zagarella, and will therefore liberally draw on her exposition (without

point-by-point specific reference either to the article or to respective relevant

paragraphs in

Scienza nuova



Zagarella thus is in accord with earlier Vico studies, such as G. Ta-

gliacozzo-M. Frankel,

Progress in Art? A Vichian Answer

, cit., p. 241: «[…] Vi-

co’s view of mankind’s history was actually diachronic and synchronic at the

same time, even though he acknowledged and clearly stated, that in each age

certain features are predominant». Tagliacozzo and Frankel attribute this insi-

ght originally to A. Pagliaro,

La dottrina linguistica di G. B. Vico,

Rome, Acca-

demia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1959. Bedani characterizes Pagliaro’s view as

“contemporaneity”, against which he posits a scheme of “overlaps” (Id.,



, cit., pp. 63-65).

More recently, this interpretation has been adopted also in Muscelli,

Il se-

gno di Giove

, cit., p. 107: «[…] ci viene detto espressamente che non ci fu su-