Vico's Providence Today

35 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2017  

Richard K. Sherwin

New York Law School

Date Written: August 23, 2017


According to Vico, it is piety, the way divine providence breaks into fractured time, that teaches the ideal patterns of history. Today, we stand in need of a post-secular, metaphysical framework for this Vichian insight in order to counter the nihilist impulse that has swept through late modernity. Vico had already identified nihilism as the dark secret of Cartesianism. Indeed, it is the historical vicissitudes of that dark secret for which he presciently sought to prepare us. Piety finds its roots in something beyond the subject, beyond the will. It is that disruptive, ineffable force that resists the impulse toward totality (the will to power) in whatever historic form it may take: from the totalizing mechanics of Hobbes’ Leviathan state to the totalizing algorithmic programming that covertly constructs and drives today’s digital social media and the so-called ‘Internet of Experience.’

Keywords: Sublime, Providence, Sacred, Metaphysics, History, Law, Authority, Vico, Legal Realism, Post-Secular

Suggested Citation

Sherwin, Richard K., Vico's Providence Today (August 23, 2017). NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3024979. Available at SSRN: or

Richard Kenneth Sherwin (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States

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