• Rebecca Ruth Gould deposited Democracy and the Vernacular Imagination in Vico’s Plebian Philology in the group Group logo of Legal historyLegal history on Humanities Commons 9 months, 1 week ago

    This essay examines Giambattista Vico’s philology as a contribution to democratic legitimacy. I outline three steps in Vico’s account of the historical and political development of philological knowledge: first, his merger of philosophy and philology, and the effects of that merger on the relative claims of reason and authority; second, his use of antiquarian knowledge to supersede historicist accounts of change in time and to position the plebian social class as the true arbiters of language; third, his understanding of philological knowledge as an instrument of political change, and a foundational element in the establishment of democracy. In its treatment of the philological imagination as a tool for bringing about political change, Vico’s plebian philology is radically democratic and a crucial instrument in the struggle against the elite from antiquity to the present.