Introduction: schema, substance, and symbol -- Linguistic form: the critique of reason becomes the critique of culture -- Mythical thought: beginning the ladder of consciousness -- Phenomenology of knowledge: taking phenomenology in the Hegelian, not the modern sense -- Metaphysics of symbolic forms: spirit, life, and Werk -- Logic of the cultural sciences: nature and culture -- Animal symbolicum -- Human freedom and politics.
Giambattista Vico is best remembered for his major work, the New Science, in which he sets forth the principles of humanity and gives an account of the stages common to the development of all societies in their historical life. Controversial at the time of its publication in 1725, the New Science has come to be seen as the most ambitious attempt before Comte at a comprehensive science of human society and the most profound analysis of the philosophy of history prior (...) to Hegel. Despite the fundamental importance of the New Science, there has been no philosophical commentary of the text in any language, until now. Written by the noted Vico scholar Donald Phillip Verene, this commentary can be read as an introduction to Vico’s thought or it can be employed as a guide to the comprehension of specific sections of the New Science. Following the structure of the text scrupulously, Verene offers a clear and direct discussion of the contents of each division of the New Science with close attention to the sources of Vico’s thought in Greek philosophy and in Roman jurisprudence. He also highlights the grounding of the New Science in Vico’s other works and the opposition of Vico’s views to those of the seventeenth-century natural-law theorists. The addition of an extensive glossary of Vico’s Italian terminology makes this an ideal companion to Vico’s masterpiece, ideal for both beginners and specialists. (shrink)
Introduction: On philosophical tetralogy -- The canon of the primal scene in speculative philosophy -- Philosophical pragmatics -- Putting philosophical questions (in)to language -- Absolute knowledge and philosophical language -- The limits of argument : argument and autobiography -- Philosophical aesthetics -- Philosophical memory -- Culture, categories, and the imagination -- Metaphysical narration, science, and symbolic form -- Myth and metaphysics.
Consciousness confronts itself with the aim of achieving absolute knowing. This is the first commentary to regard metaphor, irony, and memory as keys to the understanding of Hegel's basic philosophical position.
This book contends that both Anglo-American analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy have lost their vitality, and it offers an alternative in their place. Donald Phillip Verene advocates a renewal of contemporary philosophy through a return to its origins in Socratic humanism and to the notions of civil wisdom, eloquence, and prudence as guides to human action. Verene critiques reflection—the dominant form of philosophical thought that developed from Descartes and Locke—and shows that reflection is not only a philosophical doctrine but is (...) also connected to the life-form of technological society. He analyzes the nature of technological society and argues that, based on the expansion of human desire, such a society has eliminated the values embodied in the tradition of human folly as understood by Brant, Erasmus, and others. Focusing in particular on the traditions of some of the late Greeks and the Romans, Renaissance humanism, and the thought of Giambattista Vico, this book's concern is to revive the ancient Delphic injunction, "Know thyself," an idea of civil wisdom Verene finds has been missing since Descartes. The author recovers the meaning of the vital relations that poetry, myth, and rhetoric had with philosophy in thinkers like Cicero, Quintilian, Isocrates, Pico, Vives, and Vico. He arrives at a conception of philosophy as a form of memory that requires both rhetoric and poetry to accomplish self-knowledge. (shrink)
Moral philosophy in all its contemporary forms, whether consequentialist, formalist, contractarian, utilitarian, or virtue ethicist, presumes the possibility of formulating principles of conduct that apply universally to all human beings. Standard exceptions are infants and young children, persons who are clinically insane, and persons with reduced mental capacity. These exceptions are recognized by all modern systems of morality and law. The inability to distinguish right from wrong, due to immature age, mental disorganization, or insufficient intelligence is grounds to exempt any (...) given person from moral responsibility and moral agency.Human beings not bound by such conditions are distinguished by their capacity .. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This essay seeks a philosophical understanding of the nature of kairos that, in turn, discloses the nature of philosophizing. This essay claims that the kairos of philosophy is dialogue, and that dialogue is kairological in two ways: Dialogue is not just a phenomenon that occurs in chronological time but, rather, imposes its own time in order to see how life itself is disclosed to us; dialogue is kairological because it denotes a moment in which we are pushed into the (...) open, which demands our receptivity and response. Section I explains kairos as “circumstance” in Aristotle, as a required point of view in Heidegger, and as related to the beginning of creation in Schelling. Section II understands dialogue, as the kairos of philosophy, as a crisis—a breaking away from an ordinary understanding of and experience in the world. This destabilizing experience resonates with the untimeliness of philosophizing. (shrink)
The small section of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes called “Das geistige Tierreich und der Betrug oder die Sache selbst” is one stage of the total dialectical movement of Hegel’s “Science of the Experience of Consciousness.” It plays a role like any other stage, as a form of appearance through which consciousness must pass on its way to “absolute knowing.” Some stages of Hegel’s Phänomenologie have tended to acquire a status for its readers beyond the function they serve in the total (...) movement of consciousness. This has certainly been true of the famous “Master and Servant” relationship and to a lesser extent of the “Unhappy Consciousness,” the “Beautiful Soul,” and that part of “Force and Understanding” called the “inverted” or “topsy-turvy world,” to name a few. (shrink)
THIS ESSAY ADDRESSES TWO QUESTIONS: Is the search for scientific truth a self-sufficient activity? or Does scientific right reasoning depend upon a form of truth-telling that lies beyond the limits of scientific investigation? Put differently, is there a sense of metaphysics as a form of human culture that is the embodiment of this general sense of truth-telling?
Since Descartes and Locke, theory of knowledge and the concept of rationality itself have been closely allied with the sciences, common sense, and empirical understanding. I argue: that theory of knowledge must be extended to theory of myth, to a theory of the origin of consciousness understood in cultural terms, rather than purely logical or metaphysical terms; and that this understanding of origin involves an understanding of the fundamental relationship between rationality and two forms of mind which have traditionally be (...) defined out of the sphere of knowledge—rhetoric and imagination. The argument that I make is based in part on an interpretation of Vico's New Science. (shrink)
At his death in 1945, the influential German philosopher Ernst Cassirer left manuscripts for the fourth and final volume of his magnum opus, _The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms_. John Michael Krois and Donald Phillip Verene have edited these writings and translated them into English for the first time, bringing to completion Cassirer's major treatment of the concept of symbolic form. Ernst Cassirer believed that all the forms of representation that human beings use—language, myth, art, religion, history, science—are symbolic, and the (...) concept of symbolic forms was the basis of his thinking on these subjects. In this volume, which contains one text written in 1928 and another in about 1940, Cassirer presents the metaphysics that is implicit in his epistemology and phenomenology of culture. The earlier text grounds the philosopher's conception of symbolic forms on a notion of human nature that makes a general distinction between Geist and life. In the later text, he discusses Basis Phenomena, an original concept not mentioned in any of his previous works, and he compares his own viewpoint with those of other modern philosophers, notably Bergson and Heidegger. (shrink)