Corso Umberto I, 40, 80138 Napoli NA, Italy
The University of Naples Federico II where Nicola Abbagnano studied.
(This volume presents for the first time in English a broa...)
This volume presents for the first time in English a broad and coherent exposition of the ideas of an important existentialist philosopher. Nicola Abbagnano, professor of the history of philosophy at the University of Turin, has been concerned with steering existentialism in a positive direction, making it at once more rigorous as to method and more genuinely relevant to the human situation. In arguing that possibility is the fundamental mode and sense of human reality, he challenges the positions of other existentialists who, though they employ the concept of the possible as the basic tool of philosophical analysis, do so incoherently.
(This book explores human possibility at the end of the tw...)
This book explores human possibility at the end of the twentieth century. It takes the form of discussion between an eminent philosopher and a skilled journalist about "the human measure" as it engages false absolutes and their accompanying utopias. The book proposes a "third way" between capitalism and socialism, and it concludes with comments on end-of-century phenomena, including democracy, intellectuals, and terrorism.
Nicola Abbagnano completed his classical studies at 17. After that he attended the Faculty of letters at Naples University, where his mentor was Antonio Aliotta. Abbagnano received a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from the university in 1922.
Nicola Abbagnano started his career as a teacher of Philosophy and History at the Liceo Umberto I° (now State High School Umberto I) in 1917. He held this post until 1927 and then became a professor of Philosophy, Pedagogy and School Legislation at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples. At the same time, he became secretary of the editorial staff at the philosophical review "Logos" edited by Aliotta. In 1927 Abbagnano applied for the post of professor of Philosophy and History at the University of Genoa but was not successful. In 1934 he won the competition for the chair of Philosophy and the History of Philosophy at the School of Education at Turin, but the Minister of National Education canceled the competition. In 1936 Abbagnano took up a post of a professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Turin. He held this post until his retirement in 1976, however, he stopped classroom teaching in 1971.
Nicola Abbagnano helped found the Centro di studi metodologici in Turin. In 1950, together with Franco Ferrarotti he founded the "Quaderni di sociologia". Abbagnano also was a joint editor with Norberto Bobbio of the "Rivista di filosofia". He inspired the group of scholars for a "New Enlightenment" and organized a series of conventions attended by the philosophers who were engaged in the construction of a "lay" philosophy. In 1964 he began contributing to the Turin newspaper "La Stampa". When he moved to Milan in 1972 he started to write for "Il Giornale". In Milan, Abbagnano held the office of Town Councillo, elected from the lists of the Liberal Party, and was also the Councillor of Culture.
Nicola Abbagnano published his first book Le sorgenti irrazionali del pensiero in 1923. Later he wrote such books as La filosofia di E. Meyerson e la logica dell'identità, La struttura dell'esistenza, Storia della filosofia and many others. Some of his writings were translated into English in Critical Existentialism that was published in 1969. Some of his works were also translated in Russian, German, and Spanish. Abbagnano also published many historical monographs and he is also the author of the Dictionary of Philosophy that was published in 1961. His last book Ricordi di un filosofo was published in 1990.
Nicola Abbagnano was among the first to spread knowledge of French and German existential currents in Italy. He said that philosophy is a search for being and this search is begun by questioning man, who is defined in his existence by the possibility of stating the problem of being, that is, by the struggle toward being.
Abbagnano opposed Heidegger's and Jasper's existentialism and suggested positive existentialism, aimed at underlining the problematic character of existence and human commitment. In this regard, he places great importance on the notion of freedom and its connections with the notion of choice. According to Abbagnano, man is defined by the possibility to choose among the possibilities he is offered to him, to achieve some and not others.
After 1945, he moved away from the themes of existentialism and concentrated once again on his interest in science. Abbagnano said that only science allows "to set in order" and then to know the world. He was more and more concerned about the problems of daily existence and for a conception of philosophy as "wisdom".
Nicola Abbagnano was a member of the Accademia dei Lincei.
Nicola Abbagnano married Rosa Del Re in 1924. Later Rosa died and Abbagnano married for the second time in 1946. After his second wife, Marian, died he got married to Gigliola in June 1972.