Giambattista Vico and the principles of cultural psychology: A programmatic retrospective

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The Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico developed a theoretical framework for the study of human sciences that exerted a strong influence on psychology and other human sciences. He backed the unity of the knowledge about human mind and culture, including history, linguistics, philosophy, philology, epistemology, psychology, and for the first time proposed a method for their study that he ambitiously called ‘new science’. The article presents an overview of Vico’s thought and discusses some of the main axioms of his theoretical system. His critique of Cartesianism as the alternative epistemology he outlined is put forward as a thoughtful tool for reflection on contemporary psychological science. This retrospective look at Vico’s idea would finally provide useful insights for a programmatic view on cultural psychology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory of the Human Sciences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)44-65
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • cultural psychology, epistemology of psychology, history of psychology, qualitative psychology, Giambattista Vico


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