Translated and edited by Francis R. Hittinger IV
Among the classics of the history of philosophy, the Scienza nuova (New Science) by Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) was largely neglected and generally misunderstood during the author’s lifetime. From the nineteenth century onwards Vico’s views found a wider audience, and today his influence is widespread in the humanities and social sciences. The New Science is often taught in courses at colleges and universities, both in philosophy and Italian departments and in general humanities courses. Despite the excellent English translations of this enigmatic book and numerous studies in English of Vico, many sections of the work remain challenging to the modern reader. Vico’s New Science of the Intersubjective World offers both an in-depth analysis of all the important ideas of the book and an evaluation of their contribution to our present understanding of the social world.
In the first chapter, Vittorio Hösle examines Vico’s life, sources, and writings. The second and third chapters discuss the concerns and problems of the Scienza nuova. The fourth chapter traces the broader history of Vico’s reception. Hösle facilitates the understanding of many passages in the work as well as the overarching structure of its claims, which are often dispersed over many sections. Hösle reformulates Vico’s vision in such a way that it is not only of historical interest but may inspire ongoing debates about the nature of the humanities and social sciences as well as many other issues on which Vico sheds light, from the relation of poetry and poetics to the development of law. This book will prepare students and scholars for a precise study of the Scienza nuova, equipping them with the necessary categories and context and familiarizing them with the most important problems in the critical debate on Vico’s philosophy.
“Vico’s New Science of the Intersubjective World delivers a comprehensive treatment of Vico, which is neither too detailed and technical nor too superficial. The book gives a clear picture of what Vico wanted to say, where he might have been wrong or become obsolete, and what his true achievements are for which he still deserves praise." — Peter König, University of Heidelberg
“This volume makes available in translation a revised version of Professor Hösle’s introduction to the German edition of Vico’s masterpiece. Readers will find here a guide both historical and critical to Vico’s central ideas as well as an original approach to the problem of intersubjectivity. It is a most welcome and learned contribution to Vico interpretation.” — Donald Phillip Verene, director, Institute for Vico Studies, Emory University
“For Vico, philosophy, social science, and the history of human culture are inseparable. All commentators on Vico agree that he anticipated with astounding originality key themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century historical thought and social studies. But possibly no other commentator has shown the depth, complexity, and relevance of Vico’s ideas for modern Western thought since the Enlightenment with such insight, incisiveness, and lucidity as Vittorio Hösle.” — Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton