Galluppi, Pasquale (1770–1846)

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Pasquale Galluppi, the Italian epistemologist and moral philosopher, was born in Tropea, Calabria. He began the study of law in Naples but soon switched to theology and philosophy. At first Galluppi was strongly influenced by Christian Wolff. In 1800 he began to read Étienne Bonnot de Condillac and John Locke, and his first published work, Sull'analisi e sulla sintesi (On analysis and synthesis; Naples, 1807), was an attack on sensationalism. From 1807 until 1815 Galluppi studied Immanuel Kant. Although he was strongly attracted by Kantianism, he finally rejected it as "skepticism," and, through an examination of René Descartes and Locke, he arrived at a position strongly resembling that of the Scottish commonsense school as it had been interpreted by the French eclectics.

The publication in 1819 of the first volume of his Saggio filosofico sulla critica della conoscenza (Philosophical essay on the critique of knowledge; 6 vols., Naples, 18191823) brought Galluppi widespread recognition. Between 1820 and 1827 he published his best-known works: the Elementi di filosofia (4 vols., Messina, 18201827), in which he expounded his theories, and the Lettere filosofiche sulle vicende della filosofia relativamente ai principî delle conoscenze umane da Cartesio sino a Kant inclusivamente (Philosophical letters on the events in philosophy concerning the principles of human knowledge from Descartes to Kant inclusive; Naples, 1838), a remarkable history of human thought. In October 1831 Galluppi was named professor of philosophy at the University of Naples. He corresponded with Victor Cousin, whose Fragments philosophiques he translated into Italian (2 vols., Naples, 18311832), and in 1838 he was named foreign correspondent of the Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques.

Galluppi held that the only method of philosophy is analysis, a regressive movement in which reflective thought goes back over its own development. The starting point is consciousness: The existence of the conscious ego is "an original experimental truth" and an immediate intuition. The conscious ego consists in the immediate apprehension which the existing ego has of itself. This apprehension simultaneously produces apprehension of the object (which is sensation) and apprehension of the subject that perceives the object (which is feeling). Galluppi expressed this originating act in the formula "I feel (sento ) a me which senses (sente ) something" outside of me. Consciousness, in other words, is the awareness that the ego has of itself and of a separate, independently existing reality. On the basis of this indisputable testimony of consciousness Galluppi proclaimed the reality of both the ego and things, in opposition to George Berkeley's idealism and David Hume's analyses.

Using the same procedure, and by means of the evidence provided by internal consciousness, Galluppi found in the ego the universal ideas which had been denied by the empiricists: these ideas are proved by inner experience, which affirms the existence of God and, by revealing that the conscious ego can only be the effect of a divine intelligent cause, invariable and absolute, also attests the validity of causal relations. True knowledge, knowledge that is adequate to reality, consists in rearranging, by a real synthesis, the objective unities of beings just as they are. The existence of God, proved in the same way that Descartes did, by means of consciousness ("I think, therefore I am; therefore God exists"), proves that the self-evident relationships are valid. (This last argument differs from the Cartesian principle of divine truth.)

Galluppi adhered to the same theory in moral philosophy. In moral philosophy also it is the testimony of consciousness that tells us we are free and that makes us feel the necessity of moral good and thus the presence of a natural moral law: Our duty is affirmed to us by our innermost sense.

See also Analysis, Philosophical; Condillac, Étienne Bonnot de; Consciousness; Cousin, Victor; Descartes, René; Ethics, History of; Hume, David; Kant, Immanuel; Locke, John; Skepticism, History of; Wolff, Christian.


additional works by galluppi

Lezioni di logica e metafisica. 4 vols. Naples, 18321834.

Filosofia della volontà. 4 vols. Naples, 18321840.

Considerazioni filosofiche sull'idealismo trascendentale e sul razionalismo assoluto. Naples, 1841. A paper presented at the Institut de France in 1841.

Lettere filosofiche. Edited by Augusto Guzzo, 2nd ed. Florence, 1925. Contains an ample bibliography.

works on galluppi

Di Napoli, Giovanni. La filosofia di Pasquale Galluppi. Padua: CEDAM, 1947. Contains a complete bibliography, including an exhaustive list of manuscripts and editions.

Gentile, Giovanni. Dal Genovesi al Galluppi. Naples, 1903.

Guzzo, Augusto. Idealisti e empiricisti. Florence, 1937.

Lastrucci, Vincenzo. Pasquale Galluppi, studio critico. Florence: Barbera, 1890.

Spaventa, Bertrando. Prolusione e introduzione alle lezioni di filosofia nell'Università di Napoli. Naples, 1862; 2nd ed. edited by Giovanni Gentile as La filosofia italiana nelle sue relazioni con la filosofia europea. Bari, 1908; 3rd ed. Bari, 1926. Pp. 133145.

Eugenio Garin (1967)

Translated by Robert M. Connolly