The New Science
by Giambattista Vico
The New Science is often heralded as the first work of sociology,
the pioneering attempt to create a organized study of human
societies.   But this praise, albeit deserved, does not do justice to
the riches of this work.   Vico is a speculative thinker of the highest
order, and hardly a paragraph passes without some penetrating
observation or startling hypothesis, and the range of his interests
is extraordinary.  Linguistics, mythology, history, political
institutions, religious practices -- all of these and more fall under
his microscope.   His larger views are often fatally flawed -- no one
today, for instance, would accept his separation of human history
into the various stages that he finds meaningful.   But Vico's
confidence that human institutions follow a logic and evolution of
their own has been tremendously influential, and the power of his
intellect leads him into provocative insights even when his larger
theorizing falls short.

I found the
translation of
Thomas Bergin and
Max Fisch as more
than adequate.   But
I still long for an
annotated version
that would provide
the views of modern
specialists on Vico's


Isaiah Berlin's
writings on Vico are
perhaps the best
place to start for
commentary, but still
a fully detailed
commentary on
New Science
is much
to be desired.