This chapter offers a philosophical commentary on the Principles section of the New Science. Giambattista Vico intends “principles” to be taken in two senses: as that which is first in the genesis of something, its origin, and as that which is first in thought about it. The principles on which all human society depends and from which it originates are religion, marriage, and burial—things that identify human groups as human. This chapter examines Vico’s views on religion, marriage, and burial as well as his conception of the family. It also discusses Vico’s claim that the existence of God and the soul do not require a rational proof such as René Descartes sets forth in the Meditations.
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