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Horst Steinke


I (§ 120); XXXII (§ 181): «Because of the indefinite nature of the

human mind, wherever it is lost in ignorance man makes himself the

measure of all things».

V (§ 129): «To be useful to the human race, philosophy must raise

and direct weak and fallen man».

VI (§ 131): «Philosophy considers man as he should be and so can

be of service to but very few».

VIII (§§134, 135): «Things do not settle or endure out of their natu-

ral state. [T]his axiom […] decides the great dispute […] whether law

exists by nature, or whether man is naturally sociable, which comes to

the same thing» (Similarly Axiom CIV, §§ 308-310, which reads in part:

«This axiom […] shows that man is not unjust by nature in the abso-

lute sense, but by nature fallen and weak)».

X (§ 138a): «Philosophy contemplates reason, whence comes

knowledge of the true; philology observes that of which human choice

is author, whence comes consciousness of the certain»



XI (§ 141): «Human choice, by its nature most uncertain, is made

certain […] by the common sense of men with respect to human needs

or utilities».

XXXIV (§ 183): «That is a true property of the human mind which

Tacitus points out where he says “minds once cowed are prone to su-


XXXVI (§ 185): «Imagination is more robust in proportion as rea-

soning power is weak».

XXXIX (§ 189): «Curiosity – than inborn property of man, daugh-

ter of ignorance and mother of knowledge – […], has the habit, […] of

asking straightaway what it means».

XLVII (§ 204): «The human mind is naturally impelled to take de-

light in uniformity».

LXIII (§ 236): «The human mind is naturally inclined by the senses

to see itself externally in the body, and only with great difficulty does it

come to understand itself by means of reflection».

CXIII (§ 324): «The true in the laws is a certain light and splendor

with which natural reason illuminates them».

Our next task revolves around getting close to Vico’s usage of

the term “philology,” the declared subject of the Second Part of