As human thought has progressed through history, our thoughts in science have spanned many millennia and many subjects. People who have studied the sciences have ranged from Aristotle in Ancient Greece to Steven Hawking today. Men and women have studied subjects far and wide, from particle physics to biology. All of these people strove to understand the science in the world around them, but each had their own methods. Since science is such a broad topic to cover in society, with subjects ranging from biology to sociology, I decided to focus on one specific branch which I believe works very well with Vico's four stage framework. In our human history, cosmology has often been parallel to developments in society; from the renaissance period until now, and therefore is an almost perfect subject to use for the purposes of this essay.
A study of Vico's four stages helps organize how these people thought based on the paradigm they lived in and the worldview they shared with their fellow scientists. The first stage is characterized by love, by a slight attempt at understanding, even though no real understanding achieved. In this stage, people don't care about what actually happens, they only think, "Hey! This is cool!" All that matters in this stage is that the object of affection is there, and that the person has only recently found their subject. The second stage deals with shallowness. If one loves a subject, one wants to learn all they can about it. The people in this stage do learn a lot, but they learn at a very shallow level. The third stage deals with actual understanding. People in this stage strive for real understanding of their subject, often in quantifiable terms. Here, people take what they learned in the second stage and think about it for the first time. Through this thought, people gain a greater understanding and meaning from what they learned. Finally, the fourth stage focuses on the rejection of ideas.