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Horst Steinke


onymic for failsafe logico-deductive reasoning on Spinoza’s part,

but conceptual creativity on Vico’s part. This philosophical bi-

furcation at the incipient phase of

Scienza nuova

seems to set the

stage for divergences to come, whether in connection with their

theory of knowledge, philosophy of language, or the hermeneu-

tics of ancient texts.

While the side-by-side comparison of Vico and Spinoza pre-

sented here consistently seems to suggest, and point to, a wide

intellectual and philosophical gulf between these thinkers, the

discussion dealt only with certain specific, restricted points and

levels of analysis. A more adequate assessment of their bodies of

thought, or rather Vico’s body of thought in relation to Spino-

za’s, would need to take place at a more fundamental level of

their philosophies


. Irrespective of how such an evaluation may

turn out, the differences in specific areas seem undeniable, and

add to the testimony of the early modern age as a period of intel-

lectual ferment and pluralism


, perhaps its most lasting legacy

for the modern age.

Notes to the Conclusion


This point of emphasis, however, is not meant to imply exclusion of

other types of resources playing a role in Vico’s investigations; in fact, Lucci

has argued convincingly Vico’s interest in, and use of, archaeological artefacts,

especially under the influence of Francesco Bianchini (Id.,

Vico lettore e inter-

prete dei poemi omerici nella Scienza nuova,

cit., pp. 49, 60, 73). This is a welcome

corrective to the view that «er sich andererseits für die zu seiner Zeit in An-

sätzen beginnende Archäologie und Epigraphik nicht interessierte […] (on the

other hand, he had no interest in archaeology and epigraphy, the rudiments of

which started to develop in his time […])» (V. Hösle,


, cit., p.



Vico wrote a very short “chapter” entitled “Reprehension of the meta-

physics of René Descartes, Benedict Spinoza, and John Locke”, to be part of

Book II of

Scienza nuova

, but it was finally not made part of the work. For in-

depth discussion, see «NVS», 8, 1990, pp. 2-18, with commentary by D. Ph.

Verene, and also Id.,

Vico’s Reprehension of the Metaphysics of René Descartes, Bene-