Philosophy and Vico

How does one apply philosophy to the life that surrounds them? What exactly is philosophy? Much like other individuals who call themselves thinkers or philosophers, Giambattista Vico is trying to answer the ongoing question of philosophy in The New Science. Corruption is a common vice that Vico talks about. There is theme of avoiding vice in the world of attaining knowledge, and corruption is a vice that Vico tries to solve. Vico explores the question of why philosophy is for the benefit and the good of individuals. So how is philosophy relevant to the continuation of society and the human race? Is it needed for our survival as individuals living in a world where virtue is uncertain? I believe that this is so for Vico, as he explains in the conclusion of his work, theoretically the depletion of a society because of corruption and he explains why philosophy is such an important factor to the survival of a city or even in a deeper theory, ourselves.
“To be useful to the human race, philosophy must raise and direct weak and fallen man, not rend his nature or abandon him in his corruption (pg. 61, p. 129).” This is a very telling passage. I feel as though Vico is almost saying that we need philosophy to keep us from truly submitting to human nature. Philosophy is needed to direct us away from vice and lead us into a virtuous state. So Vico has made a claim here that philosophy has to have some sort of validation, and that is to be useful, or it cannot do good or maybe even exist. He is speaking like philosophy has choices, but I believe that the choice resides in the nature of man. If I man is weak and fallen, is it necessary that philosophy be present inside of his soul to be able to rend his nature? Maybe this rendering philosophy extends outside of the body and is purely universal? Or maybe it is a delicate balance of both that need to work together in order to lead the man to a better state. What does this say about our intellect as people and our understanding of the universals of the world around us?
I feel as though philosophy requires some sort of conditioning of the individual in order for them to become virtuous. In the conclusion of The New Science, Vico explains a scenario of the states of Rome and he explained reasoning as to why they fell from power. “But as the popular states became corrupt, so also did the philosophies. They descended to skepticism. Learned fools fell to calumniating the truth. Thence arose a false eloquence, ready to uphold either of the opposed sides of a case indifferently (pg. 423, p. 1102).” I believe this passage is saying that those peoples who suddenly came to vice, they only were denying the philosophies that they had learned for their society. The nature of indifference I feel does not allow philosophy to flourish, it only leaves people to their own weak and fallen nature. The states had descended to doubt and uncertainty on the premise of corrupt nature. I believe that this can be representative of an individual who has somehow distanced from the virtuous. If you cannot believe in the good of your soul, how can you live virtuously? Forming a false expression does not allow the individual to accept order in their life. I feel as though, for these states of Rome, and for us all, philosophy brings order, so we can make sense of ourselves. There is a delicate balance of understanding that particulars of our nature and knowing the universals of our environment, so as we can live peacefully and virtuously.
“Thus they caused the commonwealth to fall from a perfect liberty into the perfect tyranny of anarchy or the unchecked liberty of the free peoples, which is the worst of all tyrannies (pg. 423, p. 1102).” I believe that Vico is saying here that all people who submit to their own vices are barbarians of not only their own intellect, but intellect itself. Intellect leads into philosophy. It creates a pathway to finding the most virtuous part of ourselves and leads us to an orderly and productive life. So when we become susceptible to unbalance we can’t help but be consumed by disorder and pure bad nature. Being left to our own devises with no intellect whatsoever is bad in the opinion of Vico, and I feel as though he believes that understanding philosophy will take you to an orderly society and even life.
“It first ordains that there be found among these peoples a man like Augustus to arise and establish himself as a monarch and, by force of arms, take in hand all the institutions and all the laws, which, though sprung from liberty, no longer avail to regulate and hold it within bounds (pg. 423, p. 1102).” I believe that Vico is saying that we must find a remedy within ourselves, much like a city needs to find a person who possesses the virtue to bring the order out of a person. I almost think of philosophy to be the law that has “sprung from liberty.” I believe that philosophy is present within us, within the particulars and the things that we know as people. Philosophy will not simply come to us if we do nothing, it must be meant to be there.
“Then, if providence does not find such a remedy within, it seeks it outside. And since peoples so far corrupted have already become naturally slaves of their unrestrained passions…and in pursuit of the pleasures of their dissolute life are falling back into all the vices characteristic of the most abject slaves…providence decrees that they become slaves by the natural law of the gents (pg. 423, p.1105).” I believe that Vico is calling towards the natural vices that people have and the ability of the most fit to conquer them. I feel as though philosophy is intended for the fittest of those “slaves” that can overcome such vices. Human nature causes us to partake in such things that may takes us away from being virtuous. It is the purpose of philosophy to return us to a virtuous state.