From Kant to Croce: Modern Philosophy in Italy
Brian P. Copenhaver & Rebecca Copenhaver






From Kant to Croce: Modern Philosophy in Italy, ‘The Lorenzo da Ponte Library’ (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), in progress

It was the enormous influence of Immanuel Kant that shaped the course of Italian philosophy from around 1800, shortly before Pasquale Galluppi’s first publication, until around 1950, just before Benedetto Croce died.  Italian philosophy was not unusual in reacting so strongly to Kant.  What was unusual, however, was the survival of the idealist reaction to Kant in Italy through the first half of the twentieth century, long after it had expired elsewhere.  This is one thing that makes Italian thought during this period so remarkable.  Another is the effect of politics on philosophy, from the Restoration and the Risorgimento through the rise and fall of Fascism.

An extensive introduction to the volume will lay out this story and place the following major figures in it: Galluppi, Antonio Rosmini, Terenzio Mamiani, Vincenzo Gioberti, Bertrando Spaventa, Pasquale Villari, Francesco De Sanctis, Francesco Fiorentino, Antonio Labriola, Croce, and Giovanni Gentile.  Because this fascinating material is very little known in the Anglophone world, the volume will present material by all these writers, mostly in the form of short but complete works, on metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophical psychology, aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of history and history of philosophy.

The eighteen works included will be those listed below, shown here in draft form; the dates are those of the editions used, not of the original publications:

  1. Pasquale Galluppi, Elements of Philosophy, 1846
  2. Antonio Rosmini, A Sketch of Modern Philosophy, 1881
  3. Vincenzo Gioberti, Introduction to the Study of Philosophy, I.4, ‘The Ideal Formula
  4. Gioberti, The Moral and Political Primacy of the Italians II.2, ‘Italy is the Leader in the Philosophical Sciences,’ 1843
  5. Terenzio Mamiani, The Renewal of the Ancestral Italian Philosophy, 1836
  6. Bertrando Spaventa, The Character and Development of Italian Philosophy from the Sixteenth Century Until Our Time, 1860
  7. Francesco Fiorentino, Letters to Contessa Waddington
  8. Francesco De Sanctis, 'The Principle of Realism,' 1876
  9. Pasquale Villari, Positive Philosophy and Historical Method, 1866
  10. Antonio Labriola, 'History, Philosophy of History, Sociology and Historical Materialism,' 1902-3
  11. Benedetto Croce, History Brought Under the General Concept of Art, 1893
  12. Croce, What is Living and What is Dead in the Philosophy of Hegel? 1906
  13. Croce, 'On the Theory of Distinction and of the Four Spiritual Categories,' 1946
  14. Giovanni Gentile, 'The Philosophy of Praxis,' 1899
  15. Gentile, 'The Renaissance of Idealism,' 1903
  16. Gentile, 'The Idea of Thinking as Pure Act,' 1911
  17. 'Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals,' 1924
  18. 'Manifesto of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals: A Reply by Italian Authors, Professors and Journalists to the Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals,' 1924