The First New Science gives a clear account of Vico's mature philosophy: the belief that certain functions which are necessary for the maintenance of human society and culture, including philosophy, also condition them historically. This challenges the traditional view that philosophy can lay claim to an historically independent viewpoint, thus bringing into question the legitimacy of the claims of universal prescriptive political theories as against the de facto political beliefs of particular historical societies. This is the first of Vico's later major books in which he wrote in Italian in order not merely to expound but to demonstrate in practice, his conception of the philosophical importance of etymology. This Cambridge Texts edition is the first complete English translation of the 1725 text. Accompanied by a glossary, bibliography, chronology of Vico's life and expository introduction, it makes this important work accessible to students for the first time.