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Norberto Bobbio (October 18, 1909 – January 9, 2004) was an Italianmarker philosopher of law and political sciences and a historian of political thought. He also wrote regularly for the Turinmarker-based daily La Stampa.Bobbio was a liberal socialist in the tradition of Piero Gobetti, Carlo Rosselli, Guido Calogero, and Aldo Capitini. He was also strongly influenced by Hans Kelsen and Vilfredo Pareto.

Life and views

Bobbio was born into what his Guardian obituary[107588] described as "...a relatively wealthy, middle-class Turinmarker family" whose sympathies Bobbio would later characterize as "philo-fascist, regarding fascism as a necessary evil against the supposedly greater danger of Bolshevism". In high school he met Vittorio Foa, Leone Ginzburg and Cesare Pavese, and at university he became a friend of Alessandro Galante Garrone.

In 1942, under the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and during World War II, Bobbio joined the then illegal radical liberal party Partito d'Azione ("Party of Action") and was briefly imprisoned in 1943 and 1944. He ran unsuccessfully in the 1946 Constituent Assembly of Italy elections. With the party's failure in a post-war Italy dominated by the Christian Democrats, Bobbio left electoral politics and focused back in academia.

A strong advocate of the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the limitation of powers, he was a socialist, but opposed to what he perceived as the anti-democratic, authoritarian elements in most of Marxism. He was a strong partisan of the "Historic Compromise" between the Italian Communist Party and the Christian Democrats, and a fierce critic of Silvio Berlusconi. Bobbio died in Turin, the same city in which he was born and lived most of his life.

Academic career and honors

Bobbio studied Philosophy of Law with Gioele Solari; he later taught this curriculum in Camerinomarker, Sienamarker, Paduamarker, and ultimately back in Turinmarker as Solari's successor in 1948; from 1972 to 1984, he had a chair in the newly created faculty of political science in Turin.

He was a National Associate of the Lincean Academy and longtime director (together with Nicola Abbagnano) of the Rivista di Filosofia. He became a Corresponding Associate of the British Academy in 1966; in 1979 he was nominated as Senator-for-life by Italian President Sandro Pertini. Bobbio received the Balzan Prize in 1994 (for Law and Political Science: governments and democracy) and diplomas honoris causa from the Universities of Parismarker, Buenos Airesmarker, Madrid, Bolognamarker, and Chambéry.

Major works

  • L'indirizzo fenomenologico nella filosofia sociale e giuridica (Phenomenological Turn in Social and Legal Philosophy, 1934)
  • Scienza e tecnica del diritto (The Science and Technical Aspects of Law, 1934)
  • L'analogia nella logica del diritto (The Use of Analogy in Legal Logic, 1938)
  • La consuetudine come fatto normativo (Custom as a Normative Fact, 1942)
  • La filosofia del decadentismo (The Philosophy of Decadence, 1945)
  • Teoria della scienza giuridica (Theory of Legal Science, 1950)
  • Politica e cultura (Politics and Culture, 1955)
  • Studi sulla teoria generale del diritto (Essays in the General Theory of Law, 1955)
  • Teoria della norma giuridica (A Theory of Judicial Norms, 1958)
  • Teoria dell'ordinamento giuridico (A Theory of Legal Order, 1960)
  • Profilo ideologico del Novecento italiano (An Ideological Profile of Twentieth Century Italy, 1960)
  • Il positivismo giuridico (Legal Positivism, 1961)
  • Locke e il diritto naturale (Locke and Natural Law, 1963)
  • Italia civile (Civil Italy, 1964)
  • Giusnaturalismo e positivismo giuridico (Natural Law and Legal Positivism, 1965)
  • Da Hobbes a Marx (From Hobbes to Marx, 1965)
  • Saggi sulla scienza politica in Italia (Tests of Political Science in Italy, 1969)
  • Diritto e Stato nel pensiero di E. Kant (Law and State in the Thought of Immanuel Kant, 1969)
  • Ideological Profile of Italy In The Twentieth Century (1969)
  • Una filosofia militante: studi su Carlo Cattaneo (A Militant Philosopher: Essays on Carlo Cattaneo, 1971)
  • Quale socialismo (Which Socialism, 1977)
  • I problemi della guerra e le vie della pace (The Problem of War and the Roads to Peace, 1979)
  • Studi hegeliani (Hegelian Essays, 1981)
  • Il futuro della democrazia (The Future of Democracy: A Defence Of The Rules Of The Game, 1984)
  • Maestri e compagni (Teachers and Companions, 1984)
  • “The Future of Democracy”. TELOS 61 (Fall 1984). New York: Telos Press
  • State, Government And Society (English-language publication, 1985)
  • Il terzo assente, (The Absent Third, 1988)
  • Thomas Hobbes (1989)
  • L'età dei diritti (The Rule of Law, 1989)
  • The Age of Rights (English-language publication, 1990)
  • A Just War? (1991), a defense of the Gulf War, about which he later changed his mind. ¹
  • Destra e sinistra (Right and Left), Roma, 1994
  • In Praise of Meekness (1994)
  • De senectute (Of Old Age; the Latin title is an allusion to Cicero's Cato Maior de Senectute, 1996)
  • Autobiografia (Autobiography, 1999)
  • Teoria Generale della Politica (General Theory of Politics, 1999)
  • Dialogo intorno alla repubblica (Dialogue about the Republic, 2001)


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