Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  185 / 298 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 185 / 298 Next Page
Page Background

Vico’s Ring


atto, dunque, che in primo luogo istituisce la distanza fra uomo e natura, fra

coscienza e mondo (An act, therefore, which in the first place institutes the

distance between man and nature, between consciousness and world)» (Id.,


segno di Giove

, cit., p. 102). The “logical” process of “cross-identification” is

described as a “linguistic” process in M. Danesi,

Messages and Meanings: An In-

troduction to Semiotics,

Toronto, Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1993. So while Vico’s

term of “poetic logic” has as its etymology “words”, and thus language, the

first, originary language was not devoid of logic in its narrow, technical sense.

G. Wohlfart observed: «[…] così fin dagli inizi della lingua, nella lingua

“divina” almeno virtualmente vi è sempre stata una lingua anche “umana”, ma

per il momento solo

in nuce

([…] just as from the beginning of language, in the

“divine” language, at least virtually, there is always contained also a “human”

language, but for the time being only

in nuce

)» (Id.,

Vico e il carattere poetico del


, trans. by G. Cacciatore, G. Cantillo and P. Pierri, in «BCSV», XI,

1981, pp. 58-95, p. 93).

Not all Vico students see matters this way, for example, G. Cantelli de-

scribed the first language as follows: «Una lengua “natural”, valga decir no

convenida, que nace de forma completamente espontánea, sin reflexión al-

guna, en la mente del hombre (A “natural” language, meaning not formed by

convention, that is born in a completely spontaneous manner, without any

reflection, in the human mind)» (Id.,

De la lengua heróica del Diritto universale

a la

lengua divina de la Scienza nuova

, trans. by J. M. Sevilla, in «CsV», 9-10, 1998, pp.

57-74, p. 63).


We would like to emphasize again the particular (counterintuitive)

meaning of “calculus” intended here since it commonly has the very opposite

connotation. This is brought out clearly in A. Pennisi,

“Calcolo” versus “Inge-


in Giambattista Vico: per una filosofia politica della lingua

, in

Prospettive di storia

della linguistica. Lingua linguaggio communicazione sociale,

ed. by L. Formigari and F.

Lo Piparo, preface by T. De Mauro, Rome, Editori Riuniti, 1988, pp. 191-211.

Pennisi affirms Vico’s conception of «la creatività dello strumento linguistico

(the creativity of the linguistic tool)», as against «punti di vista […] calcolisti

(points of view based on […] calculability)» (


, p. 191). The creativity of

language is intimately connected with the imagination and


, whereas

«calcolo (calculation)» is the result of


circumscribed by regularity, repeti-

tive manipulation, and exactitude, as in arithmetic (


, p. 193). Our usage of

“calculus” in the present context obviously falls under the category of lan-

guage as creative tool.



Cantelli: «En aquel primer “estado” del hombre su experiencia

es la de hallarse “dentro” de una lengua, no de ser él el fundador de ésta. Exi-

stir dentro de esta lengua es para el hombre vivir en una realidad significativa,