This is the third and last of a brief sequnce of posts widely dispersed over time on three major texts, which I taught during the academic year that has just passed. The first was on the Essays of Montaigne and the second was on Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. These are rather different cases, so that wit Montaigne it is a case of Montaigne not getting adequate attention as a major figure in the history of philosophy, as well as the attention he gets as a Renaissance literary figure and humanist. In the case of Montesquieu, the attention he get is appropriately directed at his contributions to political, social, legal, and historical thought, but despite his foundational role in all these areas he looks a bit second division, and marginal, a bit condescended to as an antiquarian of his time, and the amount of attention he gets is I believe believe below par given the level of his contributions.
What I am discussing is this post is the New Science of Giambattista Vico. It makes a slightly ironic sequel to the post on Montesquieu, since there is case for saying that Montesquieu, along with Rousseau, plagiarised Vico, particularly considering that both spent enough time in Italy that they must have had conversations about the distinguished Professor in Naples, who was at least well known in the peninsula in his own lifetime.