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Giambattista Vico Giovan Battista (Giambattista) Vico (23 June 1668 23 January 1744) was an Italia n political philosopher,

rhetorician, historian, and jurist. He criticised the e xpansion and development of rationalism and was an apologist of classical antiqu ity. Vico is best known for his magnum opus, the Scienza Nuova of 1725, often pu blished 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 epistemol ogy.[1][2] 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 narr ated philosophically").[3] While Vico was not, strictly speaking, a historicist, interest in him has often been driven by historicists (such as Isaiah Berlin[4] and Hayden White).[5][6] Contents 1 Biography 2 The Scienza Nuova 3 The verum factum principle 4 Vichian rhetoric and humanism 5 Response to the Cartesian method 6 See also 7 Footnotes 8 References 9 Bibliography 10 Works 11 External links Biography Born to a bookseller and the daughter of a carriage maker in Naples, Italy, Vico attended a series of grammar schools, but ill-health and dissatisfaction with J esuit scholasticism led to home schooling. After a bout of typhus in 1686, Vico accepted a tutoring position in Vatolla (a Frazione of the comune of Perdifumo), south of Salerno, that would last for nine years. In 1699, he married a childhood friend, Teresa Destito, and took a chair in rhetoric at the University of Naples. Throughout his career, Vico would aspi re to, but never attain, the more respectable chair of jurisprudence. In 1734, h owever, he was appointed royal historiographer by Charles III, king of Naples, a nd was offered a salary far surpassing that of his professorship. Vico retained the chair of rhetoric until ill-health forced him to retire in 1741. The Scienza Nuova Main article: Scienza Nuova Principj di Scienza Nuova - title page of 1744 edition. The New Science (1725, original title Scienza Nuova) is his major work and has b een highly influential in the philosophy of history, and for historicists like I saiah Berlin and Hayden White. The verum factum principle Vico is best known for his verum factum principle, first formulated in 1710 as p art of his De antiquissima Italorum sapientia, ex linguae latinae originibus eru enda (1710) ("On the most ancient wisdom of the Italians, unearthed from the ori gins of the Latin language").[7] The principle states that truth is verified thr

ough creation or invention and not, as per Descartes, through observation: The cr iterion and rule of the true is to have made it. Accordingly, our clear and dist inct idea of the mind cannot be a criterion of the mind itself, still less of ot her truths. For while the mind perceives itself, it does not make itself. This cr iterion for truth would later shape the history of civilization in Vico s opus, th e Scienza Nuova (The New Science, 1725), because he would argue that civil life like mathematics is wholly constructed. Vichian rhetoric and humanism Vico's version of rhetoric is often seen as the result of both his humanist and pedagogic concerns. In De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione ("On the Order of th e Scholarly Disciplines of Our Times"), presented at the commencement ceremonies of 1708, Vico argued that whoever intends a career in public life, whether in th e courts, the senate, or the pulpit should be taught to master the art of topics a nd defend both sides of a controversy, be it on nature, man, or politics, in a f reer and brighter style of expression, so he can learn to draw on those argument s which are most probable and have the greatest degree of verisimilitude (however , in his "Scienza Nuova", Vico denounces as "false eloquence" one defending both sides in controversies). As Royal Professor of Latin Eloquence, it was Vico s tas k to prepare students for higher studies in law and jurisprudence. His lessons t hus dealt with the formal aspects of the rhetorical canon, including arrangement and delivery. Yet as the above oration also makes clear, Vico chose to emphasiz e the Aristotelian connection of rhetoric with dialectic or logic, thereby recon necting rhetoric to ends (or topics) as their center. Vico's objection to modern rhetoric is that it cuts itself off from common sense (sensus communis), as the sense common to all men. In his lectures and throughout the body of his work, V ico's rhetoric begins from a central argument or "middle term" (medius terminus) which it then sets out of clarify by following the order of things as they aris e in our experience. Probability and circumstance retain their proportionate imp ortance, and discovery reliant upon topics or loci supersedes axioms derived thr ough reflective abstraction. In the tradition of classical Roman rhetoric, Vico sets out to educate the orator as the deliverer of the "oratio", a speech having "ratio" or reason/order at its heart. What is essential to the oratory art (as the Greek rhetorike) is the orderly link between common sense and an end commens urate to it an end that is not imposed upon the imagination from above (in the man ner of the moderns and a certain dogmatic form of Christianity), but that is dra wn out of common sense itself. In the tradition of Socrates and Cicero, Vico's r eal orator or rhetorician will serve as midwife in the birth of "the true" (as a form or idea) out of "the certain" (as the confusion or ignorance of the studen t's particularized mind). Vico's rediscovery of "the most ancient wisdom" of the senses (a wisdom that is "human foolishness" or humana stultitia), his emphasis on the importance of civi c life, and his professional obligations remind us of the humanist tradition. He would call for a maieutic or jurisprudential oratory art against the grain of t he modern privileging of a dogmatic form of reason in what he called the geometri cal method of Descartes and the Port-Royal logicians. Response to the Cartesian method As he relates in his autobiography, Vico returned to Naples from Vatolla to find "the physics of Descartes at the height of its renown among the established men of letters." Developments in both metaphysics and the natural sciences abounded as the result of Cartesianism. Widely disseminated by the Port Royal Logic of A ntoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, Descartes' method was rooted in verification: the only path to truth, and thus knowledge, was through axioms derived from obse rvation. Descartes' insistence that the "sure and indubitable" (or, "clear and d istinct") should form the basis of reasoning had an obvious impact on the prevai ling views of logic and discourse. Studies in rhetoric indeed all studies concer ned with civic discourse and the realm of probable truths met with increasing di sdain.

Vico's humanism and professional concerns prompted an obvious response that he w ould develop throughout the course of his writings: the realms of verifiable tru th and human concern share only a slight overlap, yet reasoning is required in e qual measure in both spheres. One of the clearest and earliest forms of this arg ument is available in the De Italorum Sapientia, where Vico argues that to introduce geometrical method into practical life is "like trying to go ma d with the rules of reason," attempting to proceed by a straight line among the tortuosities of life, as though human affairs were not ruled by capriciousness, temerity, opportunity, and chance. Similarly, to arrange a political speech acco rding to the precepts of geometrical method is equivalent to stripping it of any acute remarks and to uttering nothing but pedestrian lines of argument. Vico's position here and in later works is not that the Cartesian method is irre levant, but that its application cannot be extended to the civic sphere. Instead of confining reason to a string of verifiable axioms, Vico suggests (along with the ancients) that appeals to phron?sis or practical wisdom must also be made, as do appeals to the various components of persuasion that comprise rhetoric. Vi co would reproduce this argument consistently throughout his works, and would us e it as a central tenet of the Scienza Nuova. See also Recapitulation theory Footnotes ^ Ernst von Glasersfeld, An Introduction to Radical Constructivism. ^ Bizzell and Herzberg, 800, The Rhetorical Tradition. ^ The contemporary dominant interpretation of Vico owes much to Donald Phili p Verene; see his 2002 "Giambattista Vico," A Companion to Early Modern Philosop hy, Steven M. Nadler, ed. (London: Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-21800-9), 57 0. ^ Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas ^ (1976), "The tropics of history: The deep structure of the New Science" in Giambattista Vico, "Science of Humanity", ed. Giorgio Tagliacozzo and Donald Ph ilip Verene (Baltimore and London, 1976) ^ Giambattista Vico: An International Symposium. Giorgio Tagliacozzo, Editor ; and Hayden V. White, Co-editor. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969. Attempts to inaugurate a non-historicist interpretation of Vico are found in Interpretat ion: A Journal of Political Philosophy[1], Spring 2009, Vol. 36.2, and Spring 20 10 37.3, as well as in Historia Philosophica, Vol. 11, 2013 [2] ^ His wording was ?Verum et factum reciprocantur seu convertuntur ? (? The t rue and the false move on each others?), an idea which can be found also in occa sionalism and Scotist scholasticism References Encyclop?dia Britannica entry Fabiani, Paolo "The Philosophy of the Imagination in Vico and Malebranche". F.U.P. (Florence UP), Italian edition 2002. Fabiani, Paolo "The Philosophy of the Imagination in Vico and Malebranche". F.U.P. (Florence UP), English edition 2009. Gianturco, Elio, trans. De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione (On the Study M ethods of our Times). 1709. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990. Goetsch, James. Vico s Axioms: The Geometry of the Human World.. New Haven: Ya le UP, 1995. Mooney, Michael. Vico in the Tradition of Rhetoric. New Jersey: Princeton UP , 1985. Pompa, Leon. Vico: A Study of the New Science. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990

. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry Bibliography Bedani, Gino. Vico Revisited: Orthodoxy, Naturalism and Science in the Scien za Nuova. Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1989. Berlin, Isaiah. Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas. London : Hogarth, 1976. Bizzell, Patricia, and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings fr om Classical Times to the Present. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan; Boston, Ma: B edford Books of St Martin's Press, 2001. Pp. Xv, 1673. (First Ed. 1990). 2001. Colilli, Paul. Vico and the Archives of Hermetic Reason. Welland, Ont.: Edit ions Soleil, 2004. Croce, Benedetto. The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico. Trans. R.G. Collingwo od. London: Howard Latimer, 1913. Danesi, Marcel. Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language. Bloomington: Ind iana UP, 1993 Fabiani, Paolo. The philosophy of the imagination in Vico and Malebranche Fl orence UP, 2002 (Italian edition), 2009 (English edition). Fisch, Max, and Thomas Bergin, trans. Vita di Giambattista Vico (The Autobio graphy of Giambattista Vico). 1735-41. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1963. Giannantonio, Valeria. "Oltre Vico L'identit? del passato a Napoli e Milano tra '700 e '800", Carabba Editore, Lanciano, 2009. Grassi, Ernesto. Vico and Humanism: Essays on Vico, Heidegger, and Rhetoric. New York: Peter Lang, 1990. H?sle, Vittorio. "Vico und die Idee der Kulturwissenschaft" in Prinzipien ei ner neuen Wissenschaft ?ber die gemeinsame Natur der V?lker, Ed. V. H?sle and C. Jermann, Hamburg : F. Meiner, 1990, pp. XXXI-CCXCIII Joyce, James. Finnegans Wake. Viking 1939. Leone, Giuseppe. [rec. al vol. di] V. Giannantonio, "Oltre Vico L'identit? d el passato a Napoli e Milano tra '700 e '800", Carabba Editore, Lanciano 2009, i n Misure Critiche, n.2, La Fenice Casa Editrice, Salerno 2010, pp. 138 140. Levine, Joseph. Giambattista Vico and the Quarrel between the Ancients and t he Moderns. Journal of the History of Ideas 52.1(1991): 55-79. Lilla, Mark. "G. B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modern." Cambridge, MA: Harv ard University Press, 1993. Mazzotta, Giuseppe. "The New Map of the World: The Poetic Philosophy of Giam battista Vico." Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Miner, Robert. "Vico, Genealogist of Modernity." Notre Dame: University of N otre Dame Press, 2002. Nicolini, Fausto, ed. Opera di G.B. Vico. Bari: Laterza, 1911-41. Palmer, L.M., trans. De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia ex Linguae Originibu s Eruenda Librir Tres (On the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians Unearthed from the Origins of the Latin Language). 1710. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1988. Pinton, Girogio, and Arthur W. Shippee, trans. Institutiones Oratoriae (The Art of Rhetoric). 1711-1741. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V., 1984. Pompa, Leon, trans. Scienza Nuova (The First New Science). 1725. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. Schaeffer, John. Sensus Communis: Vico, Rhetoric, and the Limits of Relativi sm. Durham: Duke UP, 1990. Verene, Donald. Vico's Science of Imagination. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1981. Verene, Molly Black "Vico: A Bibliography of Works in English from 1884 to 1 994." Philosophy Documentation Center, 1994.