Nicola Abbagnano (July 15, 1901, Salerno -1990, Milan) is an Italian philosopher, the founder of “positive” existentialism. He studied philosophy at the University of Naples. Since 1936 he taught philosophy at the University of Turin. According to Abbagnano, in the center of existential philosophy is the existential act as a problematic uncertainty. The problem is posed by the person to himself regarding himself, and the true self of man is formed by the transcendental possibility (in the movement from possibility to possibility of this possibility).

Abbagnano equally opposes radical skepticism (which denies comprehension of reality), radical dogmatism (identifying the categories of philosophical research with categories of reality) and “negative existentialism” (Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre), in which the concept of the possible turns into a concept of the impossible or necessary. He also rejects the one-sided orientation of the theological or ontological existentialism, according to which human possibilities are realized possibilities (because they are bestowed on man by being, God or the highest value). The category of opportunity is the main category of “positive existentialism” of Abbagnano. It is not compatible with the category of necessity in all its forms and types (potentiality or virtuality, randomness, regularity). At the same time, Abbagnano considers the category of possibility to be a category of finite and finite (there can be no possible), and therefore concrete, definite, individual, and not universal, absolute and infinite.

He connects “positive philosophy” with the nature of man in his concrete existence: a man himself makes his choice, makes a decision and bears responsibility for it. According to Abbagnano, philosophy is a strictly private matter for every person, and philosophizing is the most secret and intimate of his existentials. The universality of philosophy is not in abstraction but in understanding and human solidarity. A philosopher is not the herald of the Absolute or the Infinite, but a thinking person who conducts a dialogue with other people about the ways and crossroads of the human destinies and destinies of all mankind. Abbagnano works on the history of philosophy and science, sociology and aesthetics.

Abbagnano philosophy publications:

  1. La struttura dell’esistenza. Torino, 1939;
  2. Storia del pensiero scientifico, vol. 1-3. Torino, 1951-1953;
  3. Filosofia, religione, scienza. Torino, 1947;
  4. Esistenzialismo positive Torino, 1948;
  5. Possibilita e liberta. Torino, 1956;
  6. Storia della filisofia, v. 1-3. Torino, 1974;
  7. Dizionario di filosofia. Torino, 1961;
  8. Fra il tutto e il nulla. Milano, 1973;
  9. La saggezza della vita. Milano, 1987;