The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Giovanni Gentile

Giovanni Gentile in his earlier years.
Giovanni Gentile in his earlier years.

Giovanni Gentile (May 30th 1875 - April 15th 1944) was an Italian neo-Hegelian Idealist philosopher, a friend of Benedetto Croce.

Gentile was born in Castelvetrano , Sicily. Gentile was inspired by such Italian thinkers as Mazzini, Rosmini, Gioberti & Spaventa from whom he borrowed the idea of autoctisi or self-construction, but was just as strongly influenced by the German idealist & materialist schools of thought. Namely Karl Marx, Hegel, and Fichte with whom he shared the ideal of creating a Wissenschaftslehre , or theory for a structure of knowledge which makes no assumptions. Nietzsche too, played an influence on Gentile, as can be seen in an analogy between Nietzsche's ▄bermensch & Gentile's Uomo Fascista.

Gentile, described both by himself and Mussolini as 'the philosopher of Fascism', was the ghostwriter of 'A Doctrine of Fascism' which, signed by Benito Mussolini, described Fascism in the Italian Encyclopedia (which was edited by Gentile). He described the traits characteristic of Italian Fascism at the time: compulsory state corporatism, fŘhrerprinzip, abolition of the parliamentary system, and autarky. Gentile was minister of education and later a member of the Fascist Grand Council during the Fascist regime. He stayed loyal to Mussolini after the establishment of the Republic of Sal˛ but was killed by the communist partisans while returning from the Prefecture in Florence where he was pleading for the release of anti-fascist professors.

Gentile had believed so firmly in the philosophical concreteness of Fascism as having a dialectical intelligence surpassing intellectual scrutiny, that he presumed intellectual opposition could only reinforce and give credence to help the truth of his conception of Fascism as a superior & liberally thinking politic.

Gentile's philosophical basis for fascism was rooted in his understanding of ontology and epistemology, in which he found vindication for the rejection of individualism, acceptance of collectivism, with the state as the ultimate location of authority and loyalty to which the individual found in the conception of individuality no meaning outside of the state (which in turn justified totalitarianism).

Ultimately, Gentile foresaw a social order wherein opposites of all kinds weren't to be given sanction as existing independently from each other; that 'publicness' and 'privateness' as broad interpretations were currently false as imposed by all former kinds of Government; Captialism, Communism, and that only the reciprocal totalitarian state of Corporative Syndicalism, a Fascist state, could defeat these problems made from reifing as an external that which is in fact only a thinking reality.

Gentile was a notable philosophical theorist of his time throughout Europe, having developed his own system of Idealism called Actual Idealism or sometimes 'Actualism,' in which negativism was in itself considered a form of positivism by way that all senses about the world only take the form of ideas within one's mind in any real sense. An example of Actual Idealism in Theology is that though man may have invented the concept of God, that fact would not make God any less real in any sense possible, except where qualities were presupposed about what that existence actually entailed such as being invented apart from the thinking making it.

Therefore Gentile proposed a form of what he called 'absolute Immanentism ' in which the divine was the present conception of reality in the totality of one's individual thinking as an evolving, growing & dynamic process. Many times accused of Solipsism, Gentile maintained his philosophy to be a Humanism that intuited nothing possibly beyond what was human and that the self's human thinking, to create as it knew others to be human like oneself, made an empathy cohesive of the self-same, without an external division, and realized therefore not as objects to one's own thinking.


The Writings of Giovanni Gentile (to 1935)

  • Delle Commedie di Antonfranceso Grazzi, detto "Il Lasca" (1896)
  • Una critica del materialismo storico (1897)
  • Rosmini e Gioberti (1898)
  • La filosofia de Marx (1899)
  • Il concetto della storia (1899)
  • L'insegnamento della filosofia nei licei (1900)
  • Il concetto scientifico della pedagogia (1900)
  • Della vita e degli scritti di B. Spaventa (1900)
  • Polemica hegeliana (1902)
  • L'unita della scuola secondaria e la libertÓ degli studi (1902)
  • Filosofia ed empiricismo (1902)
  • La rinascitÓ dell'idealismo (1903)
  • Dal Genovesi al Galluppi (1903)
  • Studi sullo Stoicismo romano del I sec. d. C. (1904)
  • Riforme liceali (1905)
  • Il figlio di G. B. Vico (1905)
  • La rimforma della scuola media (1906)
  • Le varie redazioni del De sensu rerum di T. Campanella (1906)
  • Giordano Bruno nella storia della cultura (1907)
  • Il primo processo d'eresia di T. Campanella (1907)
  • Per la scuola primeria allo stato (1907)
  • Vincenzo Gioberti nel primo centenario dell sua nascitÓ (1907)
  • Il concetto della storia della filosofia (1908)
  • Vincenzo Cuoco pedagoista (1908)
  • Scuola e filosofia (1908)
  • Ilmodernismo e i rapporti fra religione e filosofia (1909)
  • Un poeta del pensiero. Cultura (1911)
  • Bernardino Telesio (1911)
  • L'atto del pensare come atto puro (1912)
  • Il programma della Biblioteca Filosofica di Palermo (1912)
  • Intorno all'idealismo attuale: ricordi e confessioni (1913)
  • I problemi della scolastica e il pensiero italiano (1913)
  • La riforma della dialettica hegeliana (1913)
  • Sommario di pedagogia come scienza filosofica (1913)
  • Il torto e il diritto del positivismo (1914)
  • La filosofia della guerra (1914)
  • Pascuale Galluppi giacobino? (1914)
  • Documenti pisani della vita e delle idee di V. Gioberti (1915)
  • Donato Jaja (1915)
  • Biblografia delle lettere a stampa di V. Gioberti (1915)
  • Studi vichiani (1915)
  • L'esperienza pura e la realtÓ storica (1915)
  • Per la riforma deglie insegamenti filosofici (1916)
  • Il concetto dell'uomo nel rinascimento (1916)
  • I fondamenti della filosofia del diritto (1916)
  • Teoria generale dello spirito come atto puro (1916)
  • Le origini della filosofia contemporanea in Italia (1917)
  • Sistema di logica come teoria del conoscere (1917)
  • Il carattere storico della filosofia italiana (1918)
  • Esiste una scuola italiana? (1918)
  • Il Marxismo di Benedetto Croce (1918)
  • Il tramonto della cultura Siciliana (1919)
  • Mazzini (1919)
  • Il realismo politico di V. Gioberti (1919)
  • Guerra e fede (1919)
  • Dopo la vittoria (1920)
  • Il problema scolastico del dopoguerra (1920)
  • La riforma dell'educazione (1920)
  • Discorsi di religione (1920)
  • Giordano Bruno e il pensiero del rinascimento (1920)
  • Arte e religione (1920)
  • Bertrando Spaventa (1920)
  • Difesa della filosofia (1920)
  • Storia della cultura piedmontese della 2a meta del sec. XIX (1921)
  • Frammenti di estetica e letteratura (1921)
  • Albori della nuova Italia (1921)
  • Educazione e scuola laica (1921)
  • Saggi critici (1921)
  • La filosofia di Dante (1921)
  • Il concetto moderno della scienza e il problema universitario (1921)
  • G. Capponi e la cultura toscana nel secolo decimonono (1922)
  • Studi sul rinascimento (1923)
  • Dante e Manzoni, con un saggio su Arte e religione (1923)
  • I profeti del Risorgimento Italiano (1923)
  • Intorno alla logica del concreto (1924)
  • Preliminari allo studio del fanciullo (1924)
  • La riforma della scuola (1924)
  • Il fascismo e la Sicilia (1924)
  • Il fascismo al governo della scuola (1924)
  • Che cosa Ŕ fascismo (1925)
  • La nuova scuola media (1925)
  • Avvertimenti attualisti (1926)
  • Frammenti di storia della filosofia (1926)
  • Saggi critici (1926)
  • L'ereditÓ di Vittorio Alfieri (1926)
  • Cultura fascista (1926)
  • Il problema religioso in Italia (1927)
  • Il pensiero italiano del secolo XIX (1928)
  • Fascismo e cultura (1928)
  • La filosofia del fascismo (1928)
  • La legge del Gran Consiglio (1928)
  • Manzoni e Leopardi (1929)
  • Origini e dottrina del fascismo (1929)
  • La filosofia dell'arte (1931)
  • Introduzione alla filosofia (1933)
  • La donna e il fanciullo (1934)
  • Origini e dottrina del fascismo (1934)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (Gentile one of contributors, 1935)

Works about Giovanni Gentile In English

Works about Giovanni Gentile In Italian

  • Giovanni Gentile (Augusto del Noce, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1990)
  • Giovanni Gentile filosofo europeo (Salvatore Natoli, Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1989)
  • Giovanni Gentile (Antimo Negri, Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1975)

Other revolutionary-minded Italians of the inter-war period

Last updated: 02-11-2005 00:00:19
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55