Benedetto Croce, Philosophical Inquiries and Historical Writing
In 1999, Massimo Verdicchio has published a chapter entitled “Croce, Philosopher of Naples” in the book The Legacy of Benedetto Croce: Contemporary Critical Views, a collected volume edited by Jack D’Amico, Dain A. Trafton and Massimo Verdicchio, which was digitized by De Gruyter in partnership with the University of Toronto Press in 2016.
A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.
In this contribution, Massimo Verdicchio concentrates on Benedetto Croce, an Italian philosopher (1866-1952), who in his early period has “devoted most of his time to ‘reconstructing’ the history and culture of Naples” (16). Verdicchio also explores the continuities between Croce’s earlier works and his later philosophical inquiries. This scholar, thus, argues that “Croce’s definition of history subsumed under the general concept of art was later followed by another view of history in the Logica that seemed to contradict it – namely, that history and philosophy are one” (20).
In this context, Verdicchio also adds that “Croce wants to claim that the act of historical writing […] is not bound by time and is at one with the act of writing” (21). Consequently, as this author indicates, “[t]his conception of history erases all distinctions between present and past, chronicle and history” (21). Through his textual analysis, Verdicchio suggests that, “[b]y examining the sources, whenever possible, and by reinterpreting them, one can, [as] Croce [apparently] believes, replace the lies with the proper story. In other words, Croce believes that it is possible to distinguish […] lies or frauds from history, truth from error” (23).
In his conclusion, Verdicchio appraises “Croce’s early writings on popular and erudite legends […] [and] their uncertain origins and their easily falsifiable data” (29). Based on his literary, historical and philosophical analyses, this scholar argues that Croce’s work is subtended by “a philosophical method aimed at distinguishing and resolving the error inherent in any epistemological endeavour. History and philosophy – a thesis and a method – are at the heart of Croce’s philosophy of absolute historicism” (29).
By Pablo Markin
Featured Image Credits: Via Benedetto Croce?, Naples, Italy, August 9, 2008 | © Courtesy of Lep/Flickr.