Vittorio Possenti

Vittorio Possenti

Date of Birth 25 March 1938
Place Rome (Italy)
Nomination 17 March 2003
Field Political Philosophy
Title Professor

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Member of the National Committee on Bioethics, Rome; Director of Venice University Interdepartmental Research Centre on Human Rights; Director of the Institute for Philosophical Studies, Milan (1975-1981); Founding Member of Institut International Jacques Maritain (1974); Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas; Consulting Member of the Pontificium Consilium pro Dialogo cum non-credentibus (1992-94). 'Salvatore Valitutti International Prize' for the book Il nichilismo teoretico e la 'morte della metafisica' (1996); 'Capri san Michele Prize' for the book Religione e vita civile (2002); Member of Board of Directors: Review of World Union of Catholic Philosophical Associations; Member of the Scientific Committees of the "Centro Studi Filosofici di Gallarate", and of the "Institute Veritatis Splendor" (Bologna); Member of the editorial Board of the journals La società (Verona), Sensus Communis (Roma),Per la filosofia (Roma); Editor of the series Annuario di Filosofia (1996-).

Summary of scientific research
The main subjects of my research have focused on social philosophy and on theoretical philosophy. In the first field an effort has been made for the scientific restoring of political philosophy, at risk of being dissolved by the attacks of behaviorism and of the radical social sciences. In a critical dialogue with the neoliberal and neoenlightenment traditions, the effort aimed at rediscovering such central notions as practical reason, common good, people, democracy, natural law and natural rights. With regard to contemporary political thought a constant reference has been the Church's social doctrine, considered as an important expression of public philosophy. In the perspective of a religiously qualified "new public square" where Christianity, democracy and civilisation could meet, importance has been attached to the theologico-political problem in a twin perspective: the postmodern revival of a public role for the great world religions; the assumption that in the West the deprivatisation of Christian faith can lead to a positive relation between religion and politics, different from that usual in modern times, often marked by their deep separation. In theoretical philosophy the mainstream of my research has been devoted to metaphysical and gnoseological realism, with several insights concerning the pivotal problems of intellectual intuition, concept of being and the idea of truth as correspondence or conformity. These aspects have been developed through the metaphysical tradition of philosophy of being, considered as the "third navigation", a more perfect progress in the historical development of Western philosophy after the "second navigation" discovered by the Greeks (mainly Plato). The philosophy of being recognizes as a zenith the thought of Aquinas and of his great followers in the 20th century, who deepened the relation between natural task of reason and supernatural election of Revelation as a criterium of opening and fostering human research. A new interpretation of theoretical nihilism, understood as deep antirealism, refusal of intellectual intuition and oblivion of being, has been developed under the assumption that world philosophy, notwithstanding the huge amount of effort devoted to this matter, is still lacking a sufficient answer to the crucial question: what is (theoretical) nihilism?

Main publications
Frontiere della pace, Massimo, Milano 1973; Filosofia e società. Studi sui progetti etico-politici contemporanei, Massimo, Milano 1983; Giorgio La Pira e il pensiero di san Tommaso, Studia Universitatis sancti Thomae in Urbe, Massimo, Roma 1983; La buona società. Sulla ricostruzione della filosofia politica, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 1983; Una filosofia per la transizione. Metafisica, persona e politica in J. Maritain, Massimo, Milano 1984;Felice Balbo e la filosofia dell'essere, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 1984;Tra secolarizzazione e nuova cristianità, EDB, Bologna 1986; Le società liberali al bivio. Lineamenti di filosofia della società, Marietti, 2a ed., Genova 1992; Oltre l'Illuminismo. Il messaggio sociale cristiano, Edizioni Paoline, Roma 1992; Razionalismo critico e metafisica. Quale realismo? Morcelliana, 2a ed., Brescia 1996; Dio e il male, Sei, Torino 1995; Cattolicesimo e modernità, Ares, Milano 1995; Approssimazioni all'essere (Scritti di metafisica e di morale), Il Poligrafo, Padova 1995; Il nichilismo teoretico e la "morte della metafisica", Armando, Roma 1995; Terza navigazione. Nichilismo e metafisica, Armando, Roma 1998; Filosofia e Rivelazione, Città Nuova, 2a ed., Roma 2000; La filosofia dopo il nichilismo, Rubbettino, Soveria 2001; Religione vita civile. Il cristianesimo nel postmoderno, Armando, 2a ed., Roma 2002; L'azione umana, Città Nuova, Roma 2003; Essere e libertà, Rubbettino, Soveria 2004; (ed.) Maritain e Marx, Massimo, 2a ed., Milano 1979; (ed.) Epistemologia e scienze umane, Massimo, Milano 1979; (ed.) Storia e cristianesimo in Jacques Maritain, Massimo, Milano 1979; (ed.) Jacques Maritain oggi, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 1983; (ed.) Jacques Maritain e la filosofia dell'essere, Il Cardo, Venezia 1996; (ed.) Laici o laicisti? Dibattito su religione e democrazia, liberallibri, Firenze 2002; (ed.) La questione della verità, Armando, Roma 2003. About 400 essays and articles (books and essays have been translated in ten languages).

Professional address

Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia
Dipartimento di Filosofia e Teoria delle Scienze
Palazzo Nani Mocenigo
Dorsoduro 960
30123 Venice


Riflessioni sugli scopi globali e la governance politica nella presente fase storica (PDF) 2013

La science-technique et les nouvelles questions anthropologiques (PDF) 2012

What Is or Should Be the Role of Religiously Informed Moral Viewpoints in Public Discourse (Especially Where Hotly Contested Issues Are Concerned)? (PDF) 2011

The Governance of Globalization: Global Political Authority, Solidarity and Subsidiarity (PDF) 2010

Antropologia cristiana e diritti umani. Diritti e doveri (PDF) 2009

Solidarity and Subsidiarity in International Relations (PDF) 2008

Comments (PDF) 2007

Educare: aspetto fondamentale della solidarietà con bambini e giovani (PDF) 2006

Comment on "The Classical Notion of the Person in Today's Philosophical Debate" (PDF) 2005

La soggettività della società e la “soggettività morale” (PDF) 2004

Comment on R. Minnerath's paper "Une autorité mondiale – point de vue de l'Église catholique (PDF) 2003

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