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Giambattista Vico (1688-1744) is an extremely difficult but foundational thinker. Isaiah Berlin credits him as the founder of the “counter-enlightenment,” while he saw himself as a defender of religion, piety, and historical knowledge, in the face of the new rationalism of Descartes and Hobbes. Against Descartes’ mathematical science, and the rationalist political doctrines of Grotius, Hobbes and Pufendorf, Vico mounted a revolutionary and novel defense of history, rhetoric and religion, based on a new understanding of human nature as plastic and historically determined. Vico’s thought is now recognized as anticipating the ideas later expressed by Rousseau, Herder, Kant, Hegel and more.

This discussion group will focus on selections of Vico’s magnum opus, in the edition titled First New Science, as well as selections from his autobiography, with the goal of making sense of Vico’s ideas and his challenge to modern science, philosophy and secularism.


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Join us Tuesday nights from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM as Jonathan Yudelman and Jacob Wolf of Boston College lead a discussion group on Giambattista Vico. The group will provide an opportunity for those interested to grapple together with Vico’s often very obscure thought, and to try to place his insights into the context of post-Renaissance and enlightenment Europe. More importantly, we will try to bring Vico into dialogue with contemporary concerns about history, religion, politics, identity and the limits of philosophy for life. It is open to interested and qualified participants, with typical participant a graduate, post-graduate or advanced undergraduate student.

This program will run for six weeks from July 9th through August 13th and will cost $75 for attendees. Scholarships are available, please email director@aaicambridge.org for more information. For those interested in attending, books will be available for pick up at our offices. Please apply below if you are interested!


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