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Mussolini’s Fascist Philosopher

Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered


M.E. Moss

Giovanni Gentile was one of the most important and controversial thinkers of twentieth-century Italy. His philosophy and fascist ideas reflect the defining characteristics of the Italian romantic rebellion against European and English enlightenment thinking. The Ariadne’s thread, which runs through and unifies all of Gentile’s thought, originates accordingly from his neo-Hegelian reaction to the philosophy of Kant and of Kant’s immediate predecessors. The range of Gentile’s ideas on pedagogy, logic, metaphysics, political theory, and aesthetics; the original way in which he developed and adapted the thoughts of Hegel, Fichte, and Marx; and finally, his description of himself as the philosopher of fascism all encourage us to revisit and re-evaluate his system. This book reveals how Gentile came to advocate his «actual idealism» and evaluates his systematic philosophy by making explicit inconsistencies that arise from within his system and by questioning his idealist assumptions.