Recent research has led me to look at the role of irony in aesthetics and philosophy. My interest was most immediately stimulated by section 408 of Vico’s New Science, which seems to me to point towards the role of irony and literary aesthetics in the Jena Romantics and Kierkegaard. Vico does so by referring to the simultaneous emergence of philosophical reflection and consciousness of irony in the Athens of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The idea of irony is not directly addressed much by Vico, but his approach needs to be grasped to understand his full argument about the significance of the ‘persona’ as object of Roman law (that is the creation of a personality in law distinct from ‘life’ personality). The reading great significance into brief passages of Vico in terms of his overall argument and the resonance of his work with later thought, is inevitable given the nature of his argumentation and the structural oddities of the New Science.