Paolo Casini

Leopardi apprendista: scienza e filosofia

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Keywords:

Leopardi claimed in his "Zibaldone" to have been initiated into "philosophy" by Mme de Stael in 1819. However, recent critical editions of a group of early manuscripts (1811-1813) relating to Newtonian science and to such philosophical topics as free will, determinism and theodicy show to what extent Leopardi and his intellectual apprenticeship were indebted to certain eighteenth century scientifical and philosophical textbooks, and particularly to the literature of the French Enlightenment. This paper focuses upon a number of themes which were familiar to Leopardi as an apprentice-scholar (the mechanistic view of nature, the dilemma of human freedom and natural determinism, etc.), and tries to show their importance for a new assessment of his mature concept of nature, the keyword to his prose and verse philosophical meditations.

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