The new light of Europe: Giordano Bruno and the modern age Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • McTighe, Geoffrey Neal Cassady
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) is an important figure in Hans Blumenberg's (1920-1996) The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1966). In this dissertation I further situate Bruno in the German Philosopher's sweeping interpretation of the modern age through the Blumenbergian lens of Metaphorology. Herein I analyze metaphors in the lives and works of two thinkers who espouse Brunonian ideas: Nicola Antonio Stigliola (1546-1623) and Andrea Fodio Gambara (c.1588-c.1660). Bruno is a modern thinker because his radical reading of Copernicanism called for a reassessment of all facets of human inquiry into nature and morality. Accordingly, Bruno detailed a revolutionary infinite pananimism that inspired, among others, his compatriot, Stigliola, and the Calabrian Fodio Gambara. Although neither cited Bruno in their works, they directly and tangentially assumed Brunonian garb in the seventeenth century. The basis on which I argue this is both theoretical and substantive. Theoretically, I study each of these authors' works and lives as Blumenbergian solutions to problems integral to the development of the modern age. Moreover, I situate these metaphors in dialogue. The result is a picture of how an initial Brunonian spark brought on by Copernicus's flint, set a conflagration in the modern age that participated in the demise of Hebrew and Christian eschatological thought. Bruno replaced it with the fecund ash of cosmological and spiritual infinitism. Substantively, I employ Blumenberg's metaphorology, a synchronic approach to history, in order to understand ideas. I study metaphors as Blumenbergian reoccupations of positions, such as Bruno's ars memoriae and Stigliola's Encyclopedism as better solutions to the problem of the organization of knowledge in the infinite universe. This thesis is the only study to consider these three thinkers in tandem, the only English-language study of Stigliola and Fodio Gambara, and it is also an extension of Blumenberg's metaphorology to Giordano Bruno's thought.
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  • Rao, Ennio
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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