Vico, Genealogist of Modernity

Vico, Genealogist of Modernity

by Robert C. Miner

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Library Journal
Miner (philosophy, Boston Coll.) contends that Vico sought to undermine Descartes's philosophy, and the break in European thought it inaugurated, by means of a historical critique of reason. In this respect, Vico was a precursor of 19th-century historicism. Challenging Croce and Isaiah Berlin, Miner does not think that this critique made Vico into an essentially modern thinker. Instead, he contends that Vico used philology and historical investigation to undermine the pretensions of modern thought. Like St. Augustine, whom he followed, Vico contended that secular thought stems from human pride and is in essence sinful. Miner contrasts Vico with Nietzsche, who likewise pursued a genealogical method to criticize philosophy. Unlike Nietzsche, however, Vico aimed to defend Christianity. Miner's book rests on a thorough knowledge of Vico's work, especially stressing the early Universal Law. Though his interpretation has been heavily influenced by John Milbank's two-volume The Religious Dimension in the Thought of Giambattista Vico, it offers original insight and understanding into a seminal, if occasionally neglected, figure and is therefore highly recommended for larger public as well as academic libraries. David Gordon, Bowling Green Univ., Ohio Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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University of Notre Dame Press
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6.36(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.82(d)

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