The prophetic vision of Giambattista Vico: Implications for the state of social psychological theory

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Abstract

Discusses 3 heuristic themes that emerge in Vico's writings and their implications for social psychology: (a) that human nature and society are in perpetual flux; (b) that there are recursive trends in social behavior influenced by human events; and (c) that it is possible, by transhistorical analysis, to identify these cyclical patterns, as well as their systematic influence upon trends in theories of human nature and society. The question is raised whether some motive explanations and psychological norms or processes that are presumed to be space-time universals may, analogous to Newtonian physics, turn out to be “closed theories,” which in the case of social psychology are dependent upon what Vico conceived of as the course and recourse of events. A discussion of current research examples is presented that illustrates the applicability of these themes pursuant to a genetic social psychology, which emphasizes the origins (genesis) and development of social behavior. (42 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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