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Download Borrowed Light: Vico, Hegel, and the Colonies by Timothy Brennan PDF

By Timothy Brennan

A severe revaluation of the humanist culture, Borrowed gentle makes the case that the 20 th century is the "anticolonial century." The sparks of concerted resistance to colonial oppression have been ignited within the collecting of highbrow malcontents from world wide in interwar Europe. lots of this era's valuable figures have been shaped through the event of revolution on Europe's semi-developed jap outer edge, making their rules specifically pertinent to present principles approximately autonomy and sovereignty. in addition, the debates so much widespread then—human vs. inhuman, religions of the e-book vs. oral cultures, the authoritarian kingdom vs. the consultant country and, peculiarly, clinical rationality vs. humanist reason—remain principal today.

Timothy Brennan returns to the medical Enlightenment of the seventeenth century and its legacies. In readings of the showdown among Spinoza and Vico, Hegel's critique of liberalism, and Nietzsche's antipathy in the direction of the colonies and social democracy, Brennan identifies the divergent traces of the 1st anticolonial theory—a literary and philosophical venture with powerful ties to what we now name Marxism. alongside the way in which, he assesses clients for a renewal of the examine of imperial tradition.

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Additional resources for Borrowed Light: Vico, Hegel, and the Colonies

Sample text

The bestial, in short, does not necessarily end for Vico with the making of laws. 21 He calls the first polities founded on blood ties and the domestication of captive labor “heroic” because this is how the ancients spoke of them and because he is thinking etymologically; in his ethical universe, however, he means to say that they are precisely not heroic in the usual sense of the term, representing instead “the deeds of scoundrels” (NS, 226). ”22 The conquered countryside of the periphery becomes the hands to the global city’s V I C O , S P I N O Z A , A N D T H E I M P E R I A L P A S T 27 mind as capitalism consolidates its holdings, a process Marx painfully records but does not applaud.

His text is consistently sympathetic to revolt, as when he states that the Chaldean aristocrats were “overthrown by means of the popular liberty of the plebeians of that people” (NS, 35), or when he points out that the first socii were “plebeians of the heroic cities and finally the provincials of sovereign peoples” (NS, 81). And yet, like Spinoza and Hegel (although not Marx), Vico finds constitutional monarchy attractive, and on the same grounds that Spinoza did. For the problem with popular commonwealths is that they leave the door “wide open by law to the greedy multitude, which is in command” (NS, 87).

The attractions of Vico for anticolonial theory are obvious from three defining features of his work. First, his story of civilization’s origins gives no priority to any one people, thereby refuting the principle of European centrality by way of Greece. If certain cultures were responsible for specific inventions such as navigation, the quadrant, the first alphabet, laws of the first free commonwealth, and so on, for him the drama of civic institutions is the work of every­one equally and separately (NS, 36): “By uniformity of ideas the orientals, Egyptians, Greeks and Latins, each in ignorance of the others, raised the gods to the ­planets” (NS, 4).

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