front cover of The Dark Abyss of Time
The Dark Abyss of Time
The History of the Earth and the History of Nations from Hooke to Vico
Paolo Rossi
University of Chicago Press, 1984
"A rich historical pastiche of 17th- and 18th-century philosophy, science, and religion."—G. Y. Craig, New Scientist

"This book, by a distinguished Italian historian of philosophy, is a worthy successor to the author's important works on Francis Bacon and on technology and the arts. First published in Italian (in 1979), it now makes available to English readers some subtly wrought arguments about the ways in which geology and anthropology challenged biblical chronology and forced changes in the philosophy of history in the early modern era. . . . [Rossi] shows that the search for new answers about human origins spanned many disciplines and involved many fascinating intellects—Bacon, Bayle, Buffon, Burnet, Descartes, Hobbes, Holbach, Hooke, Hume, Hutton, Leibniz, de Maillet, Newton, Pufendorf, Spinoza, Toland, and, most especially, Vico, whose works are impressively and freshly reevaluated here."—Nina Gelbart, American Scientist


front cover of James Joyce and the Philosophers at Finnegans Wake
James Joyce and the Philosophers at Finnegans Wake
Donald Phillip Verene
Northwestern University Press, 2016
James Joyce and the Philosophers at Finnegans Wake explores how Joyce used the philosophers Nicholas Cusanus, Giordano Bruno, and Giambattista Vico as the basis upon which to write Finnegans Wake. Very few Joyce critics know enough about these philosophers and therefore often miss their influence on Joyce's great work. Joyce embraces these philosophic companions to lead him through the underworld of history with all its repetitions and resurrections, oppositions and recombinations. We as philosophical readers of the Wake go along with them to meet everybody and in so doing are bound "to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy" of our souls the "uncreated conscience" of humankind. Verene builds his study on the basis of years of teaching Finnegans Wake side by side with Cusanus, Bruno, and Vico, and his book will serve as a guide to readers of Joyce's novel.

front cover of Rhetoric on the Margins of Modernity
Rhetoric on the Margins of Modernity
Vico, Condillac, Monboddo
Catherine L. Hobbs
Southern Illinois University Press, 2002

Changes in English studies today, particularly the rise of cultural studies, have forced reexaminations of historical genealogies. Three complex figures whose places are currently being reassessed include the Neapolitan Giambattista Vico (1668 –1744), the Frenchman Etienne de Condillac (1714 –1780), and the Scotsman James Burnet(t), Lord Monboddo (1714 –1799) in our histories of communication, linguistics, English studies, and now rhetoric.

In Rhetoric on the Margins of Modernity: Vico, Condillac, Monboddo, Catherine L. Hobbs focuses primarily on these three key figures in whose work rhetoric and linguistics intertwine as they respond to emerging attitudes and values of science and philosophy in the eighteenth century. Through her examination of works of Vico, Condillac, Monboddo and other marginal figures, Hobbs presents a different and more nuanced view of the transformation of rhetoric from classical to modern.

In order to redefine each figure’s position, Hobbs brings together the histories of linguistics, literature, rhetoric, and communication, rather than leaving them isolated in separate disciplines. She examines each figure’s theory of language origin and development as it has motivated their rhetorical theories. The result is Rhetoric on the Margins of Modernity: Vico, Condillac, Monboddo, an original and significant account of the formation of modern rhetoric.


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Sensus Communis
Vico, Rhetoric, and the Limits of Relativism
John D. Schaeffer
Duke University Press, 1990
The concept sensus communis—a term that means a great deal more than its English translation “common sense”—has served as a key principle in the theory of knowledge from the ancient Greeks through the Enlightenment philosophers. John D. Schaeffer shows how the seventeenth-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico synthesized Greek and Roman ideas of what sensus communis and what this synthesis implies for current discussions of rhetoric and hermeneutics. Arguments for ethical relativism emerge from divisions between sensus communis as an ethical judgment (a concept that Richard Rorty, Richard Bernstein, and others have tried to rescue) and as a linguistic consensus, a division against which Vico argued and which his own concept of sensus communis attempted to reconcile.
In extended commentaries on Gadamer, the Gadamer/Habermas debate, and Derrida, Schaeffer shows that Vico offers the possibility of analyzing social phenomena and constellations of power from within the humanist rhetorical tradition. Vico’s achievements have powerful implications for relating ethics and hermeneutics to the world of concrete social practice, particularly in an age in which the electronic media have replaced print as the primary means of communication and in which a “secondary orality” (a cast of mind similar to that of nonliterate peoples) is appearing within our literate civilization.

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