Giuseppe Ferrari - Encyclopedia




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GIUSEPPE FERRARI (1812-1876), Italian philosopher, historian and politician, was born at Milan on the 7th of March 1812, and died in Rome on the 2nd of July 1876. He studied law at Pavia, and took the degree of doctor in 1831. A follower of Romagnosi (d. 1835) and Giovan Battista Vico, his first works were an article in the Biblioteca Italiana entitled "Mente di Gian Domenico Romagnosi" (1835), and a complete edition of the works of Vico, prefaced by an appreciation (1835). Finding Italy uncongenial to his ideas, he went to France and, in 1839, produced in Paris his Vico et l'Italie, followed by La Nouvelle Religion de Campanella and La Theorie de l'erreur. On account of these works he was made Docteur-es-lettres of the Sorbonne and professor of philosophy at Rochefort (1840). His views, however, provoked antagonism, and in 1842 he was appointed to the chair of philosophy at Strassburg. After fresh trouble with the clergy, he returned to Paris and published a defence of his theories in a work entitled Ides sur la politique de Platon et d'Aristole. After a short connexion with the college at Bourges, he devoted himself from 1849 to 1858 exclusively to writing. The works of this period are Les Philosophes Salaries, Machiavel juge des revolutions de notre temps (1849), La Federazione repubblicana (1851), La Filosofia della rivoluzione (1851), L' Italia dopo it colpo di Stato (1852), Histoire des revolutions, ou Guelfes et Gibelins (1858; Italian trans., 1871-1873). In 1859 he returned to Italy, where he opposed Cavour, and upheld federalism against the policy of a single Italian monarchy. In spite of this opposition, he held chairs of philosophy at Turin, Milan and Rome in succession, and during several administrations represented the college of Gavirate in the chamber. He was a member of the council of education and was made senator on the 5th of May 1876. Amongst other works may be mentioned Histoire de la raison d'etat, La China et l'Europa, Corso d'istoria degli scrittori politici italiani. A sceptic in philosophy and a revolutionist in politics, rejoicing in controversy of all kinds, he was admired as a man, as an orator, and as a writer.

See Marro Macchi, Annuario istorico italiano (Milan, 18 77); Mazzoleni, Giuseppe Ferrari; Werner, Die ital. Philosophie des 19. Jahrh. vol. 3 (Vienna, 1885); Uberweg, History of Philosophy (Eng. trans. ii. 461 foll.).

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