By Nuria Calduch-Benages

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J. ” Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Philosophy (Amsterdam, August 11–18, 1948), ed. E. W. Beth and H. J. Pos, 2 vols. (Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Company, 1949), 1:3. 33. Grassi to Castelli, 12 September 1946, APEC. I wish to thank Marcello Simonetta for sharing with me his transcription of the voluminous exchange between Castelli and Grassi, which I cite throughout this book. Introduction 17 attendees—hundreds of Italian philosophers, secular and Catholic, and a conspicuous number of thinkers representing fourteen other countries— were greeted in the main chamber of a still inoperative Italian Senate.

For his part, Garin, true to his intentions, allowed for such appropriation, as long as modern philosophical umanismi were informed by Renaissance humanism per se. Understanding the clash between Kristeller and Garin is therefore useful if we are to recover an original and, if pursued to its end, incisive critique of some of the pillars of our intellectual and historical self-fashioning as antihumanists and postmoderns. For what we can glean from a thorough philosophical contextualization of their work is that both viewpoints may be ascribed to a historiographical solecism.

Although imported, the Hegelian vantage point afforded Italian patriots a fully fledged legacy that they could initially reclaim as having originated with them and then, once they had gained greater intellectual confidence, could advance and modify according to their needs. This strategy bore fruitful consequences for spiritual unity, for although European thought, having lost interest in Hegel just as Italians took notice of him, would be deaf to these efforts, a prolonged naturalization of German idealism ensured that the Italian philosophical tradition would gain a solid internalist perspective on itself.

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