Jesuit philosopher and theologian; b. Salerno, Aug. 14, 1810; d. Rome, Oct. 18, 1892. After his studies and ordination in Naples, he was assigned to teach philosophy and later theology at the Jesuit college there (1837–48). He collaborated with C. M. Curci and L. taparelli in founding Civiltà cattolica (1850–), which he helped to edit until his death. Having passed from eclecticism to thomism about 1850, he used the epistemology of St. Thomas to refute the theories of J. locke, I. kant, and especially A. rosmini-serbati. He made a genuine contribution to the traditional understanding of the natural law, and figured significantly in the restoration of Thomism in Italy, defending it against the errors of modern philosophers, with whom he was quite conversant. Among his major works are Institutiones philosophicae, 2 v. (Naples 1840–42), published in 11 eds.; Della conoscenza intellettuale, 2 v. (Rome 1857–58); Istituzioni di etica e di diritto naturale (Rome 1863); La Chiesa e lo Stato (Naples 1871); Dell'uomo, 2 v. (Rome 1874–75); Degli universali (Rome 1883); Del diritto pubblico ecclesiastico (Prato 1887); and Principi di economia politica (Rome 1889).
See Also: scholasticism.
Bibliography: "Necrologio …," La civiltà cattolica (ser.15) 4 (1892): 352–360. a. masnovo, "Le P. Liberatore fut-il thomiste de 1840 à 1850?" Revue néo-scolastique de philosophie 15 (1908): 518–526; Il neo-tomismo in Italia (Milan 1923). t. mirabella, Il pensiero politico del P. Matteo Liberatore … (Milan 1956). p. dezza, Alle origini del neotomismo (Milan 1940).
[r. m. pizzorni]