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Vico's "New Science"A Philosophical Commentary$
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Donald Phillip Verene

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700163

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700163.001.0001

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Genesis of the New Science

Genesis of the New Science

(p.10) Chapter 2 Genesis of the New Science
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter comments on the genesis of the New Science, with particular emphasis on two principal decisions made by Giambattista Vico: his rejection of Cartesianism and his extension of his conception of universal law to a doctrine of universal history. It first considers Vico’s dismissal of René Descartes’s first truth of the cogito ergo sum and his articulation of the basis from which rightly to obtain first truths. It then discusses Vico’s constant revision of the New Science, writing several annotations to the book even while he was rewriting and printing it. In summary, Vico published three editions of the New Science: in 1725, 1730, and 1744. The chapter shows that the genesis of Vico’s new science goes back to his confrontation with Cartesianism in his 1709 oration On the Study Methods of Our Time, and that he offset Descartes’s fatherhood of modern science by a science of history that combines philosophy and philology.

Keywords:   philology, New Science, Giambattista Vico, Cartesianism, René Descartes, first truth, science of history, philosophy, universal law, universal history

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