The original philosophy of culture of Giambattista Vico has received wide recognition in recent years, but Vico's contribution to a «philosophy of place» has just begun to be acknowledged. For geographers, architects, and others concerned with space and place, Vico provides a critical perspective on current approaches as well as a comprehensive theoretical means of seeing place's complex role in the evolution of thought and culture. Vico's ideas drew from the Neoplatonic tradition described by Macrobius, the popular cosmographer of the Latin Middle Ages. But, in the spirit of Camillo's «Theater of Memory,» Vico took an active role in making his own work, the New Science, subject to the secular providence described by his theory. Vico's science, as described in Thought and Place, The Architecture of Eternal Places in the Philosophy of Giambattista Vico, is not simply an analysis of history or culture, but a means of approaching anything human through the idea of a primordial, metaphoric, and spatialized form of «imaginative universality.»
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If anything, silence is the pedal tone of The New Science, the basis for any interpretation that wishes to get beyond the fragmentation and repetition that annoys so many readers. Silence is, after all, the modality of images as such, suggesting that The New Science as a whole works as a mental image within the tradition of artificial memory -- that Vico conceived the reader as a mnemonicist able to use the text of The New Science as a memory place.About the Author:
Donald Kunze has taught architecture theory and general arts criticism at Penn State University since 1984. He studied architecture at N. C. State University (B. Arch.) and cultural geography at Penn State (Ph.D. 1983). His articles and lectures have engaged a range of topics dealing with the poetic "dimensionalizing" of experience. His book on the philosophy of place of Giambattista Vico studies the operation of metaphoric imagination and memory.
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