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Scholars Day 2005, Wednesday, April 13

GIAMBATTISTA VICO: INFLUENCE AND FATHERHOOD OF POST-MODERNISM

While many speech communication scholars have studied and debated the roles of pivotal contributors like Michel Foucault and Kenneth Burke regarding the Post-Modernist movement in rhetoric, it has only been in the latter half of the 20th Century that a case has been made that a heretofore little regarded rhetorician that died 261 years ago is the true father of Post-Modernism: Giambattista Vico. The rediscovery of Vico’s attacks on Descartes’ Cartesian standard of science and call for “a science that is both a history and a philosophy of humanity” is a precursor to the debates of social science versus humanism that consumed – and in many ways still does- scholarly research in rhetoric and speech communication in the early to mid-1900s. Vico’s notions about human action in relation to the phases of human history and language man uses in each phase to identify self has shown up most strikingly in the work of many Post-Modernists like Marshall McLuhan and Burke. This paper delineates the relationship of Vico with such Post-Modernist themes ending with Vico’s definitive and original treatise on the Four Master Tropes to remove any doubt of Vico’s massive hand in Post-Modern rhetorical theory.

Presenters: Lyndsay Barbato (Graduate Student)
Valerie Cary (Graduate Student)
Mark Kohler (Graduate Student)
Allison Weise (Graduate Student)
Topic: Communication
Location: 107 Holmes
Time: 3:45 pm (Session V)

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