Vico’s Intellectual Development
Virtually all recent work on Vico is based on the premise that there was an epistemological break in his thought in 1710, at which point he became suddenly and dramatically anti-Cartesian.1 One reason for this is that most previous studies have restricted themselves to an analysis of the third and final version of Vico’s best known work, La scienza nuova (1744). Little effort has been made to trace the development of his ideas not only in the important first (1725) and almost unknown second (1730) editions of La scienza nuova, but also throughout his autobiographical and earlier theoretical writings. The exception to this practice is the attention given to De antiquissima italorum sapientia, the publication of which in 1710 is held to mark his supposed intellectual conversion. Quite to the contrary, however, it can be argued that no such major shift in his thought occurred at any point. Yet this is not to deny Vico’s anti-Cartesian stance. The year 1710 was not a dramatic turning point in Vico’s intellectual development; rather, it was the year that he wrote the first of his works which was to receive significant attention.
KeywordsHistorical Knowledge Historical Reconstruction French Philosopher Past Culture Past Society
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