Dr. Alessandro Nannini

Nannini1 January – 31 December 2018

Bio: Alessandro Nannini studied at the University of Bologna, earning two MAs, one in Philosophical Sciences (2009) and the other in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology (2010). Before receiving his PhD in Philosophical Sciences from the University of Palermo (2015), he was a DAAD-fellow at the University of Halle-Wittenberg (2013). Then, he was a research fellow at the University of Parma (ACRI Award, 2016) and Jena (Fritz Thyssen Fellowship, 2016-2017), and at the Klassik Stiftung in Weimar (Weimar Post-Doctoral Award, 2017). Currently, he is a member of the research group “Philosophie allemande au 18e siècle” affiliated with the Institut d’histoire des représentations et des idées dans les modernités at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon. His research concerns the intellectual history and aesthetics of the Early Modern Age, especially the German Enlightenment, with particular regard to the intersections of philosophy, history of science, and Lutheran theology.

Project Title: Sulzer and the rediscovery of the obscure in the German Enlightenment

Project Description: The goal of this project is to analyze the meaning of obscure cognition as well as the related themes of emphasis, innuendo, and underthought in the Early and Middle German Enlightenment, with particular regard to Johann Georg Sulzer (1720-1779). While paradoxical at first sight, obscure, veiled, and implicit knowledge was a central theme of the Age of Lumières. In more detail, my objective is to study the ways in which such knowledge gained philosophical currency over the course of the German eighteenth century, being considered no longer as a mere logical defect, but rather as the metaphysical foundation whence every distinct cognition proceeds. Accordingly, I intend to examine several authors belonging to the Wolffian age, in the attempt to show how the German rationalism managed to tackle the thorny theme of what is not rationalizable. On these bases, I aim to verify the importance of the obscure both for the rise of aesthetics and for the early research on the unconscious, looking in particular at the context of the Berlin Academy of Sciences and Belles-Lettres. In this route, Sulzer marks a significant watershed, in that many of his academic essays serve as a connecting link between the Early Enlightenment background and the late eighteenth-century refection, which will culminate with Herder and Kant.