Monday, December 29, 2008

Like Vico’s New Science, Finnegans Wake is divided into four large parts

The Philosophy Forum Wednesday, November 5, 2008 Vico..Joyce.Beckett.Yeats By Tony Fahey

Abstract. Although Giambattista Vico’s work made little impact during his own lifetime, decades after his death his history of philosophy has been admired and developed by, and has had a profound influence on, many subsequent writers and thinkers – amongst whom can be counted, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and William Butler Yeats. Notwithstanding this influence Vico has remained peripheral figure to the philosophical and literary canons. The ambition of this paper is to discuss and to salute the influence of the philosophy of Giambattista Vico on the works of these Irish writers...

Like Vico’s New Science, Finnegans Wake is divided into four large parts which represent the age of gods, the age of heroes, the age of men, and the period of renewal. Within these four parts are seventeen chapters, each of which corresponds to on of Vico’s ages.

Conclusion. Because of the predominance of Cartesianism during Vico’s lifetime his New Science sank, almost without a trace, until, nearly a century after his death, it was salvaged by the French thinkers, Jules Michelet and Auguste Comte. Amongst others whose work owes much to Vico are: Benedetto Croce, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Karl Marx, R. G. Collingwood, and, more recently, Salman Rushdie and A. S. Byatt. When one adds to this impressive list the names of those upon whom this paper is based, it seems puzzling that one who has contributed so much to so many remains such a peripheral figure in the Western philosophical and literary canon. Posted by tony fahey at 7:31 AM

Athens & Jerusalem Saturday, October 18, 2008 October 18th, 1699-1708: Vico's Inaugural Orations What's so special about il signor Vico?

Simply that he thought tremendously important things that hardly anyone had thought of before. The idea of spiritual progress in human history? Vico. The idea that language evolves through myth and metaphor? Vico. The idea that the poems of Homer represent the synthesis of an aristocratic poetic tradition rather than the inspiration of one man? Vico. The idea that the human mind creates its own truth rather than merely apprehending the reality outside itself? Vico again...

One generally underappreciated aspect of Vico as a thinker is his deep interest in pedagogy and the academy. Vico swam in the great intellectual currents of antiquity and those of his own age. Epicureanism, Stoicism, Skepticism (ancient and modern), Platonism (original and neo-) and Cartesianism all made a profound impact on him: he embraced them all and quarreled with them all. Vico plumbed the educational tradition of the West and synthesized it in his own terms. His ideas about the place of education in human life were passionate and profound. In his magnum opus, La Scienza Nuova he would go so far as to argue that all history was a process by which Providence had educated Man.

But for practical purposes, the best understanding of Vico's ideas of education can be found in his seven inaugural orations at the University of Naples delivered between 1699 and 1708, always on October 18th. The last of these, delivered 300 years ago today, was expanded and published separately in a pamphlet called De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione, "On the Study Methods of Our Time." If you care about education, and if you have not read this work, take my advice and do so at the earliest opportunity. It has those two quintessential Viconian qualities of being astoundingly deep and startlingly ahead of its time. Posted by Alpheus at 9:21 PM Labels: , ,

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