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Article

Mikhail Lifshitz and Soviet Image of Giambattista Vico

Studies in East European Thought. 2016. Vol. 68. No. 2.

In the article Mikhail Lifshitz’s interpretation of the scholarly work of the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico is analyzed against the background of other Soviet interpretations. M. Lifshitz authored the introductory article for the first complete translation of Vico’s “Scienza Nuova” in 1940. In the second half of the 1930s the interest to Vico’s “historical theory of knowledge” was important for the struggle against so-called “vulgar sociology” in the field of esthetics and literary critics. Besides, Vico’s theory of the “historical cycle” was close to the interests M. Lifshitz and G. Lukács and to their circle in Stalin-time Moscow. This interest was connected with discussions about preservation of the revolutionary impulse under conditions of the state socialism. However, such interpretation of Vico (he being considered only as predecessor of Hegel’s and Marx’s philosophy of history) restricted to a wide spectrum of his scholarly work. Particularly M., as an opponent of social-constructivism, ignored Vico’s well-known doctrine of verum factum.