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


do not reveal [3


kind:] the essences or causes of things» (


, p. 176; italics



In Röd, the second kind of knowledge is explicated emphatically as in-

herently «hypothetisch (hypothetical)» (Id.,

Spinozas Idee der Scientia intuitiva und

die Spinozanische Wissenschaftskonzeption

, cit.). “Hypothetical” assumes its seman-

tic value strictly by comparison with «intuitive knowledge». The term “sci-

ence” also would undergo relativization: «Was in der Gegenwart unter “wis-

senschaftlicher Erkenntnis” verstanden wird, ist in keinem Falle als adäquate

Erkenntnis im Sinne Spinozas zu kennzeichnen, sondern wäre von Spinozas

Standpunkt aus als inadäquate Erkenntnis auf Grund von Beobachtungen und

kausalgesetzlichen Hypothesen aufzufassen gewesen (What is understood to-

day as “scientific knowledge” is not at all to be characterized as adequate

knowledge in Spinoza’s sense, but would have to be understood from the

standpoint of Spinoza as inadequate knowledge pursuant to observations and

hypotheses formed according to the laws of causality)» (


, p. 149). As a

corollary, the modern term “underdetermination” used in connection with

scientific theorizing is not coterminous, either, with Spinozan «hypotheses»,

intersecting with it only trivially. This has been recognized by Curley: «If the

statement “hypotheses are underdetermined by experiment” means merely

that no experimental data, no matter how extensive, will ever make a hypothe-

sis metaphysically certain, […], very probably Spinoza would agree» (Id.,


on a Neglected Masterpiece

, cit., p. 66). However, in the subsequent comment on

the Boyle/Spinoza controversy, Curley reverts to treating Spinoza’s proposi-

tion of «homogeneity» at the empirical level rather than as metaphysically mo-

tivated. With respect to Spinoza’s framework of biblical interpretation, an

analogous qualification is made by Walther inusing the term «philosophisch-

wissenschaftliche(n) Theorie (philosophical-scientific theory)» (Id.,


Hermeneutik und historische Erklärung

, cit., p. 276); in other words, to qualify as

fully “scientific”, biblical hermeneutics would need to conform to Spinoza’s



Th. Nowak explained: «When hypotheses have been challenged over an

extended period of time and always found to be consistent, these then be-

come “laws”» (Id.,

A Molecular Glimpse of How Mother Nature Can Regulate Our


, in

Forms of Truth and the Unity of Knowledge

, ed. by V. Hösle, Notre Dame,

University of Notre Dame Press, 2014, pp. 115-139, p. 117). In Spinoza’s

conception, “hypotheses” never lose their dubious status by their intrinsic and

systemic shortcoming of not constituting «intuitive knowledge». The Spinozan

epistemic status of «hypotheses» is related to various Propositions in




D. Savan,

Spinoza: Scientist and Theorist of Scientific Method


cit., pp. 115-118.