The Enlightenment Period

Counter-Enlightenment Figures

How was Vico’s thought opposed to the Enlightenment?

Vico’s main thesis was: “the order of ideas follows the order of things.” The Enlightenment thesis, by contrast, was: “the order of things follows the order of ideas.” That is, Vico thought that ideas are the result of physical reality, whereas Enlightenment optimists held that reality can be directed by reason. Also, Vico believed in a cyclical progression of human events, whereas an overarching faith of the Enlightenment was in the existence of progress, which meant real change.


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