Giovanni Gentile

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Gentile, Giovanni


Born May 30, 1875, in Castelvetrano; died Apr. 15, 1944, in Florence. Italian neo-Hegelian philosopher; an ideologist of fascism. Minister of education in the Mussolini government (1922-24). Professor of history of philosophy at the University of Palermo (from 1907), the University of Pisa (from 1914), and the University of Rome (1917-44).

Gentile’s philosophical system, his so-called actualism, is a subjective idealist variant of neo-Hegelianism. In reforming Hegel’s philosophy, Gentile came close to Fichte’s view, reducing reality to the current thinking process, what he called the “act of thought” or “thinking thought.” Since he identified the act of thought with actual reality, he contrasted it not only to the whole objective world but also to past thought, to “thought thought,” which, according to Gentile, was an “ossified” and materialized thinking process and hence no longer dialectical.

Gentile cooperated with the fascist government and became an apologist of the totalitarian state, which he viewed as the embodiment of the moral spirit. He called for the total submission of the personality to the state and for the dissolution of individuals in political history.


Opere complete, vols. 1-16. Florence, 1935-46.


Efirov, S. A. Italïianskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia 20 v. Moscow, 1968. Chapter 2.
Giovanni Gentile: La vita e ilpensiero, vols. 3, 6. Florence, 1950-54.
Harris, H. S. The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, 1960.


References in periodicals archive ?
Idealist critics like the neo-Hegelian Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944) attacked the status quo as focusing on "istruzione" (instruction) rather than "educazione" (character building).
With the exception of Benedetto Croce, Giovanni Gentile and Antonio Gramsci, the other Italian modern philosophers are almost unknown in foreign countries (especially in the Anglo-Saxon cultural area).
In the course of a few years, it had become the proud self-definition of Italian fascism, endorsed by Mussolini's education minister, Giovanni Gentile, who became the official philosopher of fascism, and then incorporated in a ghost-written article by Mussolini himself in the Encyclopedia of Fascism.
Hone in introducing the poet to the philosophy of George Berkeley and to the ideas of then contemporary thinkers Giovanni Gentile and Mario Manlio Rossi.
12) Even under the Fascist regime, when intellectuals of both the left and the right--for example, Giovanni Gentile and Antonio Gramsci (13)--began appropriating traditional interpretations of Vico and putting them to different use, the Crocean idealistic frame was never really challenged.
Ciliberto, the volume is divided in three parts: the first one hosts contributions dealing directly with the topics of Bruno's Spaccio; the second one focuses on sources and concepts of Bruno's philosophy, including other works, such as the Cena de le ceneri (Ash Wednesday Supper) and the Eroici furori (Heroic Frenzies); the third and shortest one counts as a coda on philosophical historiography of Bruno and it presents contributions on Bayle, Hegel, and Giovanni Gentile.
In his memoirs, Frances Perkins, FDR's secretary of labor, described how the president's "Brain Trust" pored over the writings of Giovanni Gentile, the chief theoretician of Benito Mussolini's corporate state.
Yeats did indeed speak approvingly in the Senate and the press of Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile, the Italian minister of education.
Still, if thought and action were one and the same, as the Florentine avant-garde, together with the premier philosopher of fascism, Giovanni Gentile, were wont to claim, then Benito Mussolini, in all his vital and vulgar splendour, was their brainchild.
Several decades prior, however, a persuasive, albeit certainly not decisively successful, alternative to Crocean aesthetics was already offered, and from within the same neo-Hegelian tradition: in the philosophy of Giovanni Gentile.
of Georgia) presents a thorough look at historicism and Fascism in Italy since the early twentieth century, using the conflicting ideological views of Benedetto Croce (1866- 1952) and Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944) as a basis for a wider discussion on politics and ideas.
In a sensitive, insightful essay, Warren Boutcher traces Kristeller's formation as a humane philosopher under the tutelage of Heidegger and Giovanni Gentile, who were, ironically, spokesmen for Fascism.