The article focuses on Leibniz’s theory of dual access to the innate practical truths developed in the _New Essays_, on the background of the reconciliation between egoism and altruism he pursues – since his early writings on natural law – through the categories of disinterested love and charity, and the onto-aesthetic implication between harmony and pleasure as well. After reconstructing the meaning and the functions of the argument on the community of brigands that Leibniz addresses against Locke’s conventionalism, the article (...) dwells on the structure of social instincts in human and non-human animals and emphasises the role of the “prick of conscience”, conceived of as a first, affective and pre-rational step in the construction of otherness. (shrink)
Is language an evolutionarily independent faculty from other cognitive capacities? In recent years two opposing views have clashed: the innatist view, of which linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky is the main exponent, which answers in the affirmative; the constructivist-empiricist one according to which, on the other hand, language is but the ultimate evolution-complication of non-linguistic capabilities already present in non-human animals. This paper presents and comments on the position of the scientist and philosopher Giorgio Prodi (1928-1987) who avoids this contraposition (...) by thematising an original aesthetic area that would be at the origin of both animal and then human cognition as well as properly human language. Unlike the constructivist view, however, for Prodi such an original aesthetic field can only ground language because it is co-extensive with the original space of biosemiosis. Lastly, the theme of co-evolution is analysed, the only evolutionary mechanism capable, according to Prodi, to account for both the similarities and differences of human language compared to the forms of communication of non-human animals and plants. (shrink)
Time and time consciousness have always been for Edmund Husserl a kind of torment, a stimulus, an enigma, an 'ultimate and true absolute', as he wrote in the _Ideen_. This paper aims to show that Husserl addressed this topic, after the _Vorlesungen_, especially in his last published book _Erfahrung und Urteil_, presenting a solution that introduces a possible new perspective on thought. The conceptual core of this solution is found in the complex and fascinating analysis of passive temporal synthesis. Consciousness, (...) temporality and perception become the terms of multiple equations in their fundamental, mobile and unguaranteed basis, in a way that challenges the centuries-old concept of the central unity of the constant ego. In the middle of dark times, aware of his 'discoveries' of the 1930s such as pre-predictivity, _Lebenswelt_, anonymous and functioning intentionality, and always on behalf of the new rationalism, this also seems to be one of the most important final responses given by Husserl to Heidegger, as well as one of his most fruitful legacies and challenges to further thinking. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the theme of perspective representation starting from Panofsky and Florenskij’s works. Aim of this study is to approach this topic not only from an historical, scientific or artistic development, but also including these profiles into a wider framework offered by the philosophical concept of perspective as a symbolic form. I will try to argue that Florenskij’s _Reverse perspective _“reverses” Panofsky’s _The perspective as symbolic form_, without neglecting assumptions but rather delving in deeper analyses and integrating it (...) with a phenomenological point of view. (shrink)
The paper examines the notion of habits from the perspective of a pathic aesthetics based on the neo-phenomenological theory of Leib (felt body) and its ubiquitous communication. By questioning whether experience should be considered as a confirmation or a failure of expectation, it shows the inextricable intertwining of the unexpected and routine in our involuntary life experience and delves into a well known phenomenological crux: is the lived or felt body what is subject to self-affection and proprioception or rather the (...) “absent” body, which is always transcended in its being-for-other (transitivity)? The assumption then that felt-bodily habits are formed through a motor scheme depending on its being a perfect pre-reflective resonance (especially thanks to its more or less stable “felt-bodily islands”) of outside atmospheric feelings and affordances that also becomes a true “style”, is finally examined by showing the points of both contact and discrepancy between a New Phenomenology (Hermann Schmitz) focused above all on the rediscovery (in a critical function) of the archaic dimension of the Leib and a melioristic Somaesthetics (Richard Shusterman) pragmatically interested in a more creative individual self-stylisation. (shrink)
It is well known how Leibniz turned his attention to a large number of domains in an attempt to demonstrate the universal interconnectedness of things. This essay aims to show the relationship between two areas of knowledge studied by Leibniz: gnoseology and biology. In particular, there is a close correspondence between the doctrine of innate ideas and that of the organism. The former are in fact understood as the constitutive elements of a layered mind and can be brought to consciousness (...) through reminiscence. In contrast to the Platonic tradition, innate ideas are not the trace of notions acquired in previous lives, but are the result of a metamorphosis of living organisms. This consideration leads precisely to the Leibniz’s conception of the organism, influenced by the contemporary microscopic observation of van Leeuwenhoek and Malpighi and by the discovery of ‘spermatic animals'. In this sense, the idea of a pre-formed organism, subject to growth and contraction, is analogous to the peculiar conception of memory as a constitutive pre-configuration of the mind. (shrink)
Kendall Walton’s _Mimesis as make believe_ (1990) is a pivotal text in understanding the receiver’s role during aesthetic experience. Within his theory, aesthetic emotions have a specific importance, and they are considered as quasi-emotions. In this essay, Walton’s account, will be criticised, as it is based on the inappropriate and inconsistent concept of quasi-emotions. Firstly, quasi-emotions entail a mimetic and dualistic perspective on real and fictional words. Moreover, quasi-emotions make Walton’s theory relevant to understand only artistic fruition, and not aesthetic (...) experience. (shrink)
In this paper an aesthetics is proposed based on the De Martino concept of “crisis of presence”. If one takes such a terrifying notion seriously a very different idea of art can be experienced, an art suited in the apocalyptic time of the “end of the world”. An art that can only begin when the fear for the non-human and materic in us is set aside.
Interest in _dream_ and _madness_, conceived as the loss of a world shared with others, and the individual’s entry into a private world governed by a personal logic unrelated to the waking state and to common feeling, recurs in at least three of Kant’s works: _Essay on the Diseases of the Head,_ (1764), _Dreams of a Spirit-Seer_ (1766), and _Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View_ (1798). Hegel too, from an early age, showed a strong fascination and a precocious interest (...) in psychopathological matters (states of altered consciousness, prophetic dreams, somnambulism, catalepsy, witchcraft etc.) to which he devoted intriguing reflections in various works from different periods: from the Berne Ms _Philosophy of Subjective Spirit_ (1794/95) to the _Phenomenology _(1807), from the _Philosophical __Propaedeutics_ (1808ff.) to the _Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences_ (1830 3 ). Starting from the remarks of the two philosophers, this paper aims to underline the conceptual links between their thought and that of some renowned psychologists and psychiatrists of the 1800s-1900s (Pinel, Janet, Adler, James, Binswanger, Freud et al.). On the other hand, the paper also seeks to show – within the framework of an idea of _reason_ dating back to Heraclitus (about 544/483 B.C.) – some murky motifs, not always adequately emphasized in the past, found in the figurative and literary works of the late 1700s (e.g. Fuseli’s_ The Nightmare_, Coleridge’s _The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner_, and, in particular, plate Nr. 43 of the _Caprichos _by Goya, _El sueño de la razón produce monstruos_), where there emerges a «dark side» of psychic activity emblematically described as the cryptic relationship between _dream_ and_ madness._. (shrink)
Rosemary Brown (1916-2001), a housewife from South-London, was one of the most famous mediums of her time. Throughout her lifetime, famous composers such as Liszt, Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy and Chopin sought her from the realm of the dead to dictate their posthumous compositions. Brown’s ‘received’ musical pieces became a case study for musicians and psychologists. None, however, ever came up with a convincing explanation for the pieces’ existence. Rather than being a story of sheer madness or clairvoyance, in this paper (...) I read Brown’s musical forgeries as a ‘testament’ to twentieth‐century Western culture’s fascination with originality and the cult of genius. Ideologies of authorship and authenticity shape our aesthetic appreciation, so that music’s essential value is for us more than just ‘sounding good’. Drawing on recent philosophical discussion in aesthetics, I question this cultural framework by scrutinizing the concept of artistic creativity. It is because art is a form of creative achievement that history and provenance count as central factors of our evaluation. This, in turn, may reveal us something about the value of musical forgeries. (shrink)
This paper is a research around an aspect of contemporary history of culture, regarding modern fascination for the primitive word and the search for the primitive through study of the artistic productions of the mentally ill. In my work this problem is analyzed by the point of view of the book of Robert Volmat _L’art psychopathologique_. _L’art psyichopathologique _is a remarkable example to observe the problem of primitivism in its connections with psychology, anthropology and philosophical research on artistic expression.
A long tradition, whose echo is still perceptible in some contemporary reflections, combines philosophy and melancholy, often indentifying melancholy as the beginning of philosophy. But rereading the Freud’s _Mourning and Melancholia_, the «circular insanity» shows two sides, depressive and maniac. Once the double nature of the «circular insanity» has been taken into consideration, it can be reiterated that melancholy is connected to philosophy not only with regard of its beginning but also to its (temporary) end, approached through Wittgenstein's reflection on (...) the miracle and the mystical as the extinction of the philosophical question. In this perspective, the whole cycle of philosophy, from its depressive beginning to its maniacal outcome, undergoes an aesthetic consideration, in which what is more important is the _how_ of experience rather than its _what_. Finally, the aesthetic point of view on the connection between melancholy and philosophy makes it possible to reconsider the very status of that research that presents itself as 'love of knowledge'. (shrink)
From Empédocle to Paul Celan, there have always been poets, artists whose works lead to the surpassing of the limits of meaning. They rub shoulders with absolute reality and get lost in it. On the other hand, there are those so-called "mad" mental patients who, in their insanity and delirium, desperately try to expel the symptom that strikes them. If, for the former, their works are based on inconsistencies that bring them to the extreme limit of tearing, for the latter, (...) it is on the contrary a matter of sealing the tear that is tearing them apart. (shrink)
Antonin Artaud, words, drawings, and the extreme and traumatic condition of an individual who pushed back the boundaries of history, of his own time, in Europe’s darkest days. Such is my scope in the pages that follow. This essay examines the drawings produced by Artaud between 1944 and 1946. They offer a particularly helpful starting point for a series of reflections on, on the one hand, a concept of identity that had emerged and re-emerged with a new critical awareness following (...) the close of the Second World War, and on the other, how – leaving behind a modernism in which the cracks were clearly showing – it is from madness and suffering that the contemporary notion of the individual is reborn. (shrink)