Rina Brundu – Critique

The Dead Cities of Syria

by Nancy Penrose. They are living in the Dead Cities of Syria. In Serjilla, amid the abandoned ruins of ancient Roman villas, refugees now shelter from war. I saw this in a news video, recognized the place where, a few years ago, I took a happy tourist stroll.

The reporter crouches beside a wall of stone as shells explode above him. Below, in rooms where animals once lived, families huddle. The camera pans the faces of children. Their eyes stare with naked blankness. A woman squats beside a fire: “What am I, a terrorist? What’s my little child, a terrorist?” she asks through the translator. The camera finds another woman as she thumbs away tears. Read More

In the footsteps of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 Alice Munro

by Rina Brundu. Janice Weizman was born in Canada and has lived in Israel for the past 30 years. She is the author of The Wayward Moon, a historical novel set in the 9th century Middle East, which came out in 2012 with Yotzeret Publishing. The novel won both a gold medal in the Independent Publisher awards, and a second gold medal in the Midwest Book Awards. Her writing has appeared in Lilith, Jewish Fiction, The Jerusalem Report, and other publications. She is the founder and managing editor of The Ilanot Review, an online literary journal affiliated with Bar-Ilan university. Read More

ON ETRUSCAN LANGUAGE

by Massimo Pittau. In the last 70 years, in Italy, with regard to Etruscan language, several and authentic linguistic “obviousnesses” have been ignored, neglected and contradicted. Namely, some very simple and even obvious procedures and methods, that are usually applied every day in the study of any language, belonging to any language family, by all glottologists and historical linguistics in particular, have been ignored and not applied. Read More

On Philosophy: What Kind of Realism?

by Michele Marsonet. To what extent are we entitled to draw a border line between ontology and epistemology? To many contemporary thinkers a positive answer to this question looks attractive, mainly because it reflects convictions deeply entrenched in our common sense view of the world. However – they argue – anyone wishing to clarify the distinction between the ontological and the epistemological dimensions, without having recourse to unwarranted dogmas, should recognize that such a positive answer poses more problems than it is meant to solve. This is due to the fact that the separation between factual and conceptual is not sharp and clean, but rather fuzzy.[1] To this recognition another remark should be added. As long as humans are concerned – so the argument goes – the world is characterized by a sort of ‘ontological opacity’ which makes the construction of any absolute ontology very difficult. Our ontology is characterized by the fact that the things of nature are seen by us in terms of a conceptual apparatus that is inevitably influenced by mind-involving elements.[2] All this has important consequences on both the question of scientific realism and the realism/anti-realism debate. Read More

My father Giovannino: an exclusive interview with Mr Alberto Guareschi

by Rina Brundu. There are no more than two statements which we can regard as true: 1) we are all doomed to die, 2) Italy has never been the birthplace of great writers. But while the first has been disproved (even if it took three days before resurrection and it has been costing us almost 2000 years of tithes to be paid to the “family”!), the latter lives on unchallenged and as true as ever. This is because in Italy the title of Great Writer MUST be DESERVED. Bluntly said, it is not enough for a literary author – in order to be crowned as such – to have been one who has successfully created a few immortal characters, who has managed to model a language, who has given a substantial hand in helping his/her nations’ cultural growth, who has succeeded in transforming his/her most inspired moments into some sort of shared experience with million of readers; on the contrary, it is a STRICT requirement that he/she also befriends the “right” people, that he/she gets the approval of the intellectual caste, that he/she grows fond of pseudo-artistic snobberies and that he/she grows a taste…  for butt-kissing.   Read More

Samia Yusuf Omar’s Italian dream. An interview with Teresa Krug of Al Jazeera

by Rina Brundu. Today (1) the Italian paper Corriere della Sera reported the death of the young Somalian sprinter Samia Yusuf Omar (2), as told by athlete and countryman Abdi Bile. Samia – who during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing “managed a personal record of 32.16 seconds in the 200 metre sprint event, with the crowd roaring in applause” – allegedly died while on her way to Italy on a boat from Libya. The news reports are far from clarifying the matter, therefore I have asked a few questions to Teresa Krug, writer and Al Jazeera journalist, who had interviewed Samia during the past months for the publication of a book about her life. Read More

An interview with Italian linguist Massimo Pittau

by Rina Brundu. Massimo Pittau is a Sardinian “eccellenza”. A linguist, a scholar of Etruscan, Sardinian and protosardinian languages, he was born in Nùoro (a small town in central-eastern Sardinia), in 1921. A graduate in Humanistic Sciences and Philosophy, he has been for several decades lecturer of Sardinian Linguistics, Glottology and General Linguistics at the University of Sassari. A member of the «Società Italiana di Glottologia» for 40 years and of the «Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese» for 30 years, he authored some 50 books and more of 400 papers on Linguistics, Philology and Philosophy of the Language; books and papers which have ultimately awarded him much recognition and several cultural prizes, from the “Premio della Cultura” granted by the Italian Prime Minister’s Office in 1972 to the Premio Città di Sassari – Lingue Minoritarie, Culture delle Minoranze, awarded by the Sassari City-Hall in 2009. Read More

Common sense and science

by Michele Marsonet.

1. Are there two images of man in the world?

          It has often been said in the context of contemporary philosophy that the scientific world-view is fated to replace the view of the world provided by common sense. It may be argued, however, that common sense holds a sort of methodological primacy over the aforementioned scientific world-view. For example, the thesis of the indeterminacy of radical translation entails the impossibility of establishing, in any absolute sense, what a scientific theory is talking about. We can say what a scientific theory deals with only by having recourse to our ordinary language, i.e., by assuming that we know and understand in advance what we are talking about normally, in our daily life. It follows that the speculative building of science cannot be conceived of as a form of knowledge which is totally independent of ordinary language and, therefore, alternative to it. According to such a stance, even scientific theories stem from the universe of meanings that belong to common language. Read More

John William Waterhouse

John William Waterhouse (born between January and April 1849; died 10 February 1917) was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelit Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading him to have gained the moniker of “the modern Pre-Raphaelite”. Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. Read More

Critique of Pure Reason

The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft) by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Also referred to as Kant’s “first critique,” it was followed in 1788 by the Critique of Practical Reason and in 1790 by the Critique of Judgment. In the preface to the first edition Kant explains what he means by a critique of pure reason: “I do not mean by this a critique of books and systems, but of the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all knowledge after which it may strive independently of all experience.” Read More