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Spaventa, Bertrando (1817–83)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC114-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2003
Retrieved June 18, 2018, from

Article Summary

Trained within the circle of Neapolitan Hegelians in the 1840s, Bertrando Spaventa was influenced by Antonio Tari and taught Kantian and socialist thought (for example, Proudhon) by Ottavio Colecchi. Forced into exile following the 1848 Revolution, he moved to Florence and, in 1850, to Turin. He returned to Naples in 1861, where he taught philosophy and created a critical, non-doctrinal Hegelian school, in which Hegelian categories (in particular that of ‘being’) were reinterpreted in an epistemological sense, and the thinking subject was given primacy. His interpretation of Hegel greatly influenced Giovanni Gentile, who took Spaventa as a starting point for reconstructing the genealogy of his philosophy of actualism. Spaventa’s most important historical thesis is the ‘circulation of ideas’, according to which the fundamental doctrines of Italian Renaissance philosophy (Bruno and Campanella in particular) were developed by other European philosophers – Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel – and then taken up again in the philosophy of the Italian spiritualists.

Citing this article:
Henry, Barbara. Spaventa, Bertrando (1817–83), 2003, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC114-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2018 Routledge.

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