, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 141-144
Date: 08 Feb 2011

Vincenzo Costa: I modi del sentire. Un percorso nella tradizione fenomenologica

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The overall task of the book is to trace out the course for answering a set of questions concerning the concept of subjectivity: “What kind of subject is the human being? Can we here use the word ‘subject?’ What does this expression mean, namely, at which conditions would we agree to speak of a subject” (11)? Costa argues that at the present time there are two main ways of facing these problems: (A) the hermeneutical one, which turns every subject’s experience into a cultural production; this means that what we—the twenty-first century Westerners—used to call ‘human,’ does not coincide with anything like an essence, but is just the outcome of a sequence of conceptual schemes, historically originated. (B) the naturalistic one, according to which the very subject’s nature is the common biological structure (genetic, neurological etc.); every cognitive ability (language, empathy, understanding) is grounded on such a structure, and this element is the one that allows, among different cultu