Giambattista Vico

Biography of Giambattista Vico

Giovanni Battista (Giambattista) Vico or Vigo (23 June 1668 – 23 January 1744) was an Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist. A critic of modern rationalism and apologist of classical antiquity, Vico's magnum opus is Scienza Nuova (1725), often published in English as New Science.

Vico is a precursor of systemic and complexity thinking, as opposed to Cartesian analysis and other kinds of reductionism. He is also well known for noting that verum esse ipsum factum ("true itself is fact" or "the true itself is made"), a proposition that has been read as an early instance of constructivist epistemology.

Vico is often claimed to have inaugurated modern philosophy of history, although the term is not found in his text (Vico speaks of a "history of philosophy narrated philosophically"). While Vico was not, strictly speaking, a historicist, interest in him has often been driven by historicists (such as Isaiah Berlin and Hayden White).

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