Abstract: This contribute explores the topic of shades and darkness in Vico’s philosophy from different perspectives and argues that this dimension is at the very heart of his genetic thought. The analysis first considers some elements of Vico’s critique of Cartesian philosophy and the French thinker’s idea of reason. Shadows and obscurity are also related on the one side to the Dipintura of the Scienza nuova in which they become visual characters of the image background and on the other side with the use of an essential concept introduced in the description of this image and expressed by the polysemic/enantiosemic word “aspetto”. The last part of the essay suggests that the dark background of the SN could be identified with the “ingens sylva”, the “huge (primordial) wood” a sort of pre-human, pre-rational errantic state, that philosophy is not able really to think although it should at the same time to deal with it to avoid the costant risk to fall back in it. In connection with this point we also raise the following questions: Could we identify this originary state with matriarchal societies? Could we find some matriarchal features in Vico’s patriarchal account of the orgin of human religious political and symbolic world?
Abstract: This paper explores the concept of shades (“ombre”) inhabiting the otherworld depicted in the Divine Comedy. Dante takes it from the Classical world, and indeed “umbrae” already inhabited the underworld visited by Aeneas in book six of Virgil’s Aeneid, but in Purgatorio XXV he gives it an Aristotelian interpretation so that it could fit the new Christian setting of his poem. In particular, Dante imagines that when a soul separates from its body at physical death and gets to the afterlife, it can unfold a body of air that gives it both an appearance and all the senses, and that a shade is precisely formed by the separated soul and its aerial body. By contextualizing Dante’s explanation in Purgatorio XXV within contemporary eschatological assumptions and embryological discussions, this paper argues that Dante’s doctrine negotiates between two different principles of Scholastic philosophy (unicity and plurality of forms), giving the soul such power that it can indeed unfold a body of air (and therefore have full experience) in the afterlife while at the same time making clear that aerial shades should not be confused with real, fleshly persons. The concept of shade appears as paradoxical, both powerful and limited, and indicates, in different ways, the significance of corporeality for Dante’s anthropology.
Abstract: As the boundary between the body and the external world, skin has a transcendental status not possessed by other organs. Considered in this way, touch is the most fundamental sense: sight, hearing, smell, and taste can all be regarded as forms of touch. Increasing sensitivity to touching leads modern societies to intensify sexual harassment laws. Anti-touch legislation is nothing new, as a review of relevant biblical texts demonstrates. Surprisingly, the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus can serve as a model for modifying touching taboos: when employed responsibly, touch promotes moral/spiritual renewal. Correlating the five senses with five types of love, friendship love corresponds to the central role of touch. Touching becomes an ethical and/or legal concern only when it occurs outside the bounds of friendship.
Abstract: The paper proposes an unusual approach to Heidegger and Sartre, showing a resonance in the way both thinkers radically reinterpret one of the most important requirements for the phenomenological method: the Epoché (phenomenological reduction). The comparison I suggest between Heidegger’s and Sartre’s critique, or raising of the Epoché is particularly interesting, considering the historical and political opposition between the two philosophers. And thus despite, or maybe even because of the fact that the relation between thought and action is not alien but fundamental to the question about the primary meaning of the existence in the phenomenological inquiry – which is the question of the Epoché. The radicalization of the Epoché concerns narrowly the meaning of the subject’s existence in its historicity and facticity, which Husserl, in both Heidegger’s and Sartre’s views, seems to have not considered deeply enough in order to grasp the pure field of subjectivity. On this common path of disagreement with Husserl, Heidegger and Sartre develop different ways to come to term with it. To both, Husserl´s theoretical premise of the reduction seems to be the last repetition of the metaphysical prejudice against the importance of affects for the philosophical thinking. Heidegger does not refuse a sort of specific attitude as premise of the phenomenological method, he argues, however, that it must implicate and not suspend the facticity of the subject. With his conception of an event character of the Stimmung, which Heidegger elaborates after the publication of Sein und Zeit until the Beiträge and Besinnung, he radically reinterprets Husserl´s phenomenological reduction, without removing its temporal existential implication. Sartre too sees in the affect one and maybe the only possible trasformation of the Epoché. This happens already in his first philosophical essay, La transcendance de l´ego. But, Heidegger rethinks the reduction through the semantic field of Stimmung (mood), tracing the polysemy of the verb stimmen as root of Stimmung and of Stimme (voice). Sartre, on the contrary, considers the régard (gaze) as a fulfilled reduction, which delimitates the horizont of the phenomenality.
Abstract: The core of Michel Foucault’s micro-physics of power is anti-philosophy, that is, the will to let historicity prevail over intellectual abstraction. The purpose of this article, at a moment in which philosophy accepts being confined to the proclamation of its own undesirability or of its closure, is to show that Foucault’s critical project has been pursued by philosophical means for philosophical purposes, maintaining a dialogue with the theories of power that he ceaselessly sought to deconstruct.
Abstract: In this paper it is analyzed Paul Ricoeur’s critical comparison with Freud. We have highlighted that the psychoanalysis is interpreted as “archeology of the subject”, and as “hermeneutics of the human condition”. In particular, we have considered Ricoeur’s work of 1965 Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation, first edited in 1965. According to Ricoeur, Freudian psychoanalysis is a form of determinism: the human action is essentially explained on the basis of an unconscious and primordial mind. In this perspective, man is not completely free: Éros, thánatos, and anánke determin the human agency. In opposition to Freudian psychoanalysis, Ricoeur proposes a teleological conception of human action. He develops a “philosophy of freedom”, and a hermeneutics of the subject based on human capabilities. In the last part of our paper, we have analyzed the great work Oneself as Another (1990), in which Ricoeur deals with the problem of selfhood in the context of contemporary discussions of “otherness.” We have particularly underlined that Ricoeur’s intention is to develop a complex ontology of homo capax. According to the French philosopher, to exist is to act: speaking, doing, telling, and assuming responsibility for the act commetted. The very “being” of human beings is to act and the effort to be. In this perspective, the human interiority is considered as dynamic production (enérgeia, conatus). Being as act and potentiality, accordingly, is the dominant meta-category that governs Ricoeur’s philosphical anthropology.
Abstract: The concept of “limit-situation” (Grenzsituation) is developed by Karl Jaspers primarily in Psychologie der Weltanschauungen and in Existenzerhellung, which is the second volume of Philosophie (1932). In later works, the concept of “basic situation” (Grundsituation) also comes to the fore: this concept is not historically conditioned, rather it characterizes human existence as it has always been, namely, as a “rupture in being”, a searching for unity that is destined to fail time and again. “Basic situations” denote the limits that are common for all persons; the limits against which the supposed wholeness and unity of Dasein crashes. To these belong especially the following situations: having to die, having to suffer, having to fight, being at the mercy of chance, and facing the inevitability of guilt. These “basic situations” become “limit-situations” if they transform from simple generalities into distressing experiences for the individual. According to Carl Gustav Jung, it is possible to define a semantic connection between “limit-situations” and the “dark side” of our shadow. «Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is». The shadow is composed of the dark and unknown aspects of our personality: it describes the “hidden side” of the human psyche that we would rather not acknowledge. As Dostoevskij, Jung defines the shadow the “underground of our soul”.