Nicola Abbagnano Biography

Nicola Abbagnano (15 July 1901 – 9 September 1990) was an Italian existential philosopher.

Nicola Abbagnano was born in Salerno on 15 July 1901. He was the first born son of a middle-class professional family, his father was a practicing lawyer in the area. He studied in Naples, and in November 1922 obtained a degree in philosophy, his thesis that became the subject of his first book Le sorgenti irrazionali del pensiero (1923). His mentor was Antonio Aliotta. In the following years he taught philosophy and history at the Liceo Umberto I°, in Naples, and from 1917 to 1936 he was the professor of philosophy and pedagogy in the Istituto di Magistero Suor Orsola Benincasa. At the same time he actively contributed as secretary of editorial staff to the review Logos, edited by his mentor Aliotta. From 1936 to 1976 he was a full professor of History of Philosophy, and then in 1939 he was appointed to a full-time professorhsip at the Faculty of Letters and philosophy at the University of Turin.

Immediately after World War II he helped found the Centro di studi metodologici in Turin. With his student, Franco Ferrarotti, Abbagnano founded in 1950 the Quaderni di sociologia, and in 1952 he was joint editor with Norberto Bobbio of the Rivista di filosofia. Then from 1952 to 1960 he inspired a group of scholars for a "New Enlightenment," and organized a series of conventions attended by the philosophers who were engaged in the construction of a "lay" philosophy and who were interested in the main trends of the foreign philosophical thought. In 1964 he began his contributions to the Turin newspaper La Stampa. In 1972 he moved to Milan and discontinued his contributions to La Stampa, but began writing for Indro Montanelli's Giornale. In Milan he held the office of Town Councillo, elected from the lists of the Liberal Party, and was also the Councillor of Culture. He died on 9 September 1990, and was buried in the cemetery of Santa Margherita Ligure, the Riviera town where he had spent his vacations for many years.