Refiguraciones del valor de la experiencia en el siglo XVII espanol: apuntes desde la modernidad de una episteme alternativa

by Vivalda, Nicolas Martin

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation deals with epistemological and literary problems surrounding Spanish Baroque reflection on the concepts of experience and perception, two of the most crucial and important notions linked to the origins of Western Modernity. Problems of experience and perception were treated by many Spanish philosophers and literary figures, including, Francisco Suárez, Francisco Sánchez, Miguel de Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca, Baltasar Gracián, and Mateo Alemán. My approach focuses on the development of these concepts in the Spanish seventeenth century, as an epistemological alternative to the crystallization of the modern Cartesian philosophical paradigm. I am particularly interested in examining the speculation about the ultimate nature of cognition, experience, and perception. I read different textual manifestations of seventeenth century Spanish Baroque thought as an alternate cognitive paradigm that gives raison dêtre to well-known Baroque intellectual qualities of wit, attention, prudence, and discretion, all of which are pragmatically and epistemologically tentative. In this sense, my central hypothesis is that seventeenth century Spanish thinkers and writers avoid the Cartesian crystallization of the relationship between cognition and perception, by making it more unstable and open to heteronomy and ambiguity. The authors that I study struggle to design a broader idea of human experience and knowledge, and show traces of a heterodox, pre-modern philosophical framework. In numerous examples this approach shows itself to be more capable of dealing with a universe in a constant state of flux, paradoxically typified by both tension and order. At the same time, my dissertation proves that, although heterodox, the Baroque cognitive gaze is never ingenuous. The primary goal of such epistemological theory is not demarcation between true and false (as in the rationalist model) but open examination using cognitive values of juicio (discernment), agudeza (sharpness) and discreción (discretion). The Baroques epistemological aim is not the ultimate and typically modern- elimination of uncertainty, but the exploration of a different relationship between appearance and being conducted through an original revalidation of the notion of human experience.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dennis Looney; Hermann Herlinghaus; Gerald Martin; John Beverley

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:hispanic languages and literatures


Date of Publication:01/30/2007

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