From the Nature of the Mind to Personal Dignity

From the Nature of the Mind to Personal Dignity: The Significance of Rosmini's Philosophy

Juan F. Franck
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 216
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    From the Nature of the Mind to Personal Dignity
    Book Description:

    This book is the first philosophical study in English devoted to Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855) for over a century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1606-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    This book does not purport to exhaust the problem of the person in the philosophy of Antonio Rosmini, since that would demand a thorough survey of his complete works. Instead, as the title suggests, it attempts to show a line of reasoning that starts with the analysis of what a mind or an intellect is and ends with important considerations about the person. This has notably been Rosmini’s intention, but I will not simply analyze this aspect of his work in its historical and cultural context; I will rather draw upon his enormously rich thought, seeking an answer to the...

  4. PART I. Epistemological Foundations
    • [PART I. Introduction]
      (pp. 21-22)

      In the first chapter we will consider the nature of the problem of knowledge, namely: “What does it mean to know?” Epistemology deals with this question and seeks to establish the different kinds of knowledge. My main interest here instead will be to attain the formal element of human knowledge: that is, what makes the mind capable of understanding. This is neither the act of knowledge as originating in the knowing subject nor the thing known, but rather what stands for the thing before the mind. The classical topic of the representation would come into play here, but our purpose...

    • CHAPTER 1 The Nature of Knowledge
      (pp. 23-53)

      A good way to gain an adequate understanding of Rosmini’s work is to make clear the meaning of the terms object and objectivity. It is not merely a matter of words, since other words could be used, provided that the meaning remains unaltered. If what Rosmini calls object received another name in other thinkers, the only task would be to indicate the equivalence between the corresponding expressions. But if there is no or almost no equivalent in other philosophers, the clarification of this term takes on a high philosophical significance and not merely a philological or semantic one. It is...

    • CHAPTER 2 Analysis of the Idea of the Thing: The Intellective Perception
      (pp. 54-84)

      We have seen in the previous chapter that the first and most important problem of philosophy is the problem of knowledge. To establish the nature and reach of our ideas, which make knowledge possible, is philosophy’s first task. The question of how a thing becomes an object of knowledge is another way of formulating the same problem. Sensations constitute our direct contact with the real material world, but due to their characteristics, they cannot be called objects of thought, they cannot explain the presence of a thing to the intellect. If we were restricted to sensations, no intellectual knowledge would...

  5. PART II. Ontological Significance of the Idea
    • CHAPTER 3 Ideas and Reality
      (pp. 87-121)

      An important question that needs to be answered is whether the idea of being allows us to know things as they are without imposing an alien form on them. When a thing becomes an object of thought, does it receive a form it did not have before? Does this form alter the thing? In other words: can we rely on the idea of being as a means of objective knowledge?

      Before giving a direct answer to these questions, which clearly represent the same difficulty, I want to warn the reader against a misunderstanding. The idea of being does not enter...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Idea and the Mind
      (pp. 122-155)

      In the Nuovo saggio Rosmini speaks about the “idea of being” (idea dell’essere), but in his ontological writings he prefers the expression “ideal being.”¹ This does not follow any change in his theory of being; it just reflects a different approach. In fact, he had already concluded in his philosophy of knowledge that there was another form of being, apart from the real one: namely, ideal being.² His aim there, however, was not to develop an ontological teaching.³ How can we characterize this mode of existence, which is called ideal or objective?

      Although Rosmini dedicated many pages to the objective...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Idea and the Dignity of the Person
      (pp. 156-184)

      When we intuit being, we do not yet attribute ideality to it. It is only when we compare it with real things that we call it ideal. We find it is indeterminate, “not in itself, but relative to contingent realities.”¹ “If it were not an object of our mind, we could not reason about it.”² “It is [then] seen as common to all objects of thought.”³ It is called logical because “it shows no subsistence outside the mind.”⁴ Moreover, “the most universal idea of all … is possible being.”⁵ If we consider that it “has the susceptibility to receive different...

  6. Conclusion
    (pp. 185-186)

    We can now sum up some of the basic features of the Idea (of being) that justify both the title and content of our study. An attentive consideration and analysis of the Idea shows that it has two sides: from one side it looks at the infinite, from the other the finite.

    Its infinite and therefore most valuable side is based on three points: (1) Nothing can be understood without the thought of being: the Idea has therefore an unlimited openness. (2) In the Idea, being itself is given to be thought: this makes the objectivity of knowledge possible and...

  7. Appendix: Rosmini’s Own Account of the Problem of Knowledge
    (pp. 187-196)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-204)
  9. Index of Authors
    (pp. 205-206)
  10. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 207-209)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 210-210)