Sensus Communis: Vico, Rhetoric, and the Limits of Relativism
Duke University Press, 1990 - 181 pagina's
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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aesthetic argues argument Aristotle Aristotle's articulate audience Baroque Cartesian Cicero claims classical common sense concept of sensus consensus context controlled created critical critique Derrida Descartes describes developed dialectic dialogue difference discourse dispositio elocutio eloquence Enlightenment enthymeme epistemological ethical example extemporaneous faculty Gadamer Giambattista Vico grammar Greek Habermas hermeneutics heroes heroic hieroglyphs human humanist idea of sensus imaginative universals Institutiones institutions intellectual interpretation inventio Jove judgment language Lanham Latin ligamen linguistic meaning memorized metaphor method metonymy moral natural law Neapolitan oral culture oral performance orator origin phronesis Plato plebs poetic logic poetry practical prejudice principle proper Quintillian recitation reform relation Renaissance rhetorical tradition Roman law Roman rhetoric Science secondary rhetoric sententia Shaftesbury signified similar social society Sophists speaking speech theory of metaphor tion togati topoi tropes truth Vico says Vico's idea Vico's sensus communis Vico's thought word writing