Revisiting Giovanni Gentile's Political Philosophy

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Flaminia Incecchi looks at Giuseppe Parlato’s “Giovanni Gentile: From the Risorgimento to Fascism” from Telos 133 (Winter 2005).

Giovanni Gentile is one of many important philosophers that have been eclipsed by shifting fashions in modern academia. In becoming overshadowed, he now often is forgotten and to some extent shunned. After all, most philosophy departments have become increasingly polarized as their orthodoxies crystallize in the analytic or the continental camp, leaving them, in most cases, without much hope for dialogue. It seems useful to ask: Who should look at Gentile? Which philosophy department should engage with his thought? On paper, it seems that Gentile does not have much to offer to one sect or the other. This misfit quality is worsened and to some degree excused by the various ideological shadows that precede Gentile. At that point, Gentile’s ideological predispositions provide an indisputable alibi for the silence surrounding his thought. Most of his works have not been translated from the Italian, which limits his prospective audiences significantly. Of course, Gentile also is not at the center of academic disputes today in Italy.

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