il Mulino

Cover Pendular Thinking
series "Intersezioni"
pp. 144, Brossura, 978-88-15-11088-6
publication year 2006


Pendular Thinking

This book discusses a particular type of motion, that of the pendulum, which accompanies a particular type of thought: pendular thought. The pendulum is here considered a symbol of experience and a model of knowledge: it swings from one extreme to the other; it advances then retreats, becoming richer at each passage; it remains faithful to its tradition and experience, then enters the realm of novelty and the unknown, then again returns to the familiar. A similar movement may be observed among commuters, who must move about both physically and mentally and in doing so reflect the pendular nature of knowledge: oscillating yet remaining attached, going to and fro, obeying restraints, tracing a path that is always the same, ever different. Rigotti outlines a cultural map of the pendulum and pendular movement, drawing upon mythology (Prosperine, Sisyphus), literature (Dostoevsky, Poe, Kafka), philosophy (Montaigne, Kant, Bobbio, Sen), and personal experience (the author endlessly moves - physically, linguistically, and culturally - among Italy, Germany, and Switzerland).

Francesca Rigotti teaches Political Doctrines and Institutions at the University of Lugano.