"Ignota Latebat" means "she lay hidden" — who? Subjectivity, that's who!

the vico/lacan connection


There are almost no scholars living or dead who have connected Lacan to the clairvoyant insights of Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), the 18c. Neapolitan philosopher of culture whose major work, The New Science, discovered the "first instance" of reversed predication, the conception of nature as a subject. Was this a case where Vico had been reading Lacan — particularly on the subject of the "extimate" (extimité)? Vico got other aspects of Lacan's view that "the truth is out there" by — again anticipating Lacan — that the true (il vero) was both the last and first thing in the largest view one could take on human discourse — what Vico called the ideal eternal history (storia ideale eterna).


Vico endured the "university discourse," told to Enjoy! his symptom by the corrupt administration of the University of Naples where he taught rhetoric. Never given the position of full professor he sought, his poorly paid position nonetheless required annual addresses in Latin, where he discovered gradually and incrementally the pieces of the puzzle of subjectivity. Vico's discoveries were monumental, incredible, revolutionary, but the most ambitious elements are contained by Vico's signalized instructions to the reader embedded in the images that appear in the front of the work. The use of mirror images, left-right references, and ironic reversals of authorhip issues means that Vico's New Science — where even the word Nuovo may refer to Dante's, as both "new" and "nine" — is charged with chirality, reversed predication, and the body loading that magicians of all types use to conceal things of value. Vico's difference is that, in addition to using the tricks of the trade, he showed how humankind in general had lived off their skills as pickpockets.


See Thought and Place for an extended reflection on Vico's relation to architecture.


For a guide to reading The New Science in a somewhat eccentric fashion, see this lesson–by–lesson guide.