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


geniously fits all particular instances to the demands of typically speculative

constructions» (


, p. 206). Vico, too, eschews such simplistic “inductive”

procedure, and instead has a truly “theoretic” way of mining the data (of Ro-

man history), as described by S. Mazzarino: «Il Sistema generale della storia

Romana secondo Vico deriva da un’applicazione coerente e rigida di questo

presupposto evolutivo. Come già in parte abbiamo visto, esso pone, al centro,

la storia della plebità (The general framework of Roman history according to

Vico is the result of a coherent and rigid application of this evolutionary pre-

supposition. As we already have seen in part, it places the history of the plebe-

ians at the center)» (Id.,

Vico, l’annalistica e il diritto

, Naples, Alfredo Guida,

1971, p. 72). The term «plebeians» itself is theory-laden. Mazzarino’s work has

a wealth of information on Roman history as it relates to Vico’s own account.






, da quando cominciano le


, che

trattano» (

La Scienza nuova


Le tre edizioni

, cit., p. 891; italics original). The term

«doctrine» conveys well the explanatory intent of “philology”, rather than

compilation of data and sources. Walsh commented on the epistemological

status of Vico’s «ideal eternal history», as follows: «Was Vico justified in dis-

playing such confidence in the ideal eternal history? As was pointed out at the

beginning, his approach to the explanation of social phenomena is a highly

theoretical one» (Id.,

The Logical Status of Vico’s Ideal Eternal History

, cit., p. 149).

Walsh also addresses the question of its historical validity by proposing that

Vico intended it to be accurate only under assumed «ideal conditions», and

thus not necessarily be falsified under divergent, contingent circumstances



, pp. 147-149).


The issue of anachronism, beyond the obviously fairly trivial termino-

logical case, in discourse about early modernity will be acknowledged and tak-

en up in Part II, however briefly. Without such clarification, certain theses

proposed here might be problematic from a methodological standpoint.




o sia la

Dottrina di tutte le cose

[…]»(italics original).

La Scien-

za nuova. Le tre edizioni

, cit., p. 789.


For example, Vico entitled Chapter 5 of


as «Which Meta-

physical Doctrines of Plato Should Be Accepted?».


In other words, «[a] conception of human nature is being used to regu-

late the range of historical interpretations» (B. A. Haddock,

Vico and the Meth-

odology of the History of Ideas,


Vico: Past and Present

, cit., pp. 227-239, p. 229).


As already quoted above, § 140 is more specific in identifying lan-

guages, deeds of peoples, customs and laws, wars, peaces, alliances, travels,

commerce, in other words, the whole gamut of human civilization realized

throughout history.