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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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Recourse of the Nations

Recourse of the Nations

(p.210) Chapter 18 Recourse of the Nations
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter offers a philosophical commentary on Giambattista Vico’s confutation of the ideal eternal history in Book 5 of the New Science. In forensic oration the confutation is intended to refute conclusively the basis of the opponent’s case. Vico’s principal opponent throughout the New Science is seventeenth-century natural law theory, as represented by Hugo Grotius, Samuel Pufendorf, and John Selden. This chapter examines Vico’s argument—the ultimate basis of his confutation—that the natural law theorists omit not only the age of heroes but also the presence of divine providence, which he claims has directed the course of the nations and then directs their recourse. It also considers Vico’s comparison between ancient Roman law and feudal law as well as his views regarding the governance of the nations of the modern world.

Keywords:   nations, Giambattista Vico, ideal eternal history, New Science, natural law, Hugo Grotius, Samuel Pufendorf, divine providence, Roman law, feudal law

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