The Enlightenment Period

Counter-Enlightenment Figures

Why did Vico oppose Cartesianism?

Vico concluded that René Descartes (1596–1650) had been too enamored of mathematics and natural philosophy (science) to the neglect or dismissal of art, law, and history as valid fields of knowledge. Vico also did not think that Descartes was right in seeking the same kind of certain knowledge in science that mathematics yielded. In his first book, On the Ancient Italian Knowledge, (1710) Vico argued that Descartes was wrong in holding awareness of his own existence as a first philosophical principle, and in trying to prove God’s existence through reason alone.


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