«Sophia» XV (2023)

Table of Contents and Abstracts: Issues 1 and 2

«Sophia», Year XV (2023), Issue 1: The 20th Century and Feminine Thinking


15 Years Later (Piero Coda)


The 20th Century and Feminine Thinking (Noemi Sanches)


The Quality of the Feminine Starting with Edith Stein: Perspectives for the constitution of a personal community (Nicoletta Ghigi)

Abstract: This work highlights the specificity of the feminine in humanity from the perspective of Edith Stein. Through the idea of personal vocation, we underline personal individual and its specific characters of uniqueness, showing how, in both man and woman, what is truly peculiar is the personal core and the feminine that can express itself in each core. The emphasis on the feminine should therefore be conceived, in our view, as a further quality that each person possesses in personal quantities and in personal ways, but still constitutive of each individual. To this goal, will show and describe the characteristics,
peculiarities and emerging possibilities of this quality in Steinian anthropology.

Keywords: Phenomenological essence – Personal Core – Quality – Feminine – Individual

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 19-29

Simone Weil: A thought of detachment (Noemi Sanches)

Abstract: Detachment is a fundamental concept in Simone Weil’s theor-etical thought. At the level of thinking, it is qualified by the thinker as the “highest value” of philosophy. Based on this conception, the attempt of the present article is to eviscerate the profound meaning of detachment declined from its relation to philosophical exercise and seeking to delineate the essential features of Weil’s pensée détachée. A thinking that is positioned as an original critical alternative to the “objectifying thinking” that has characterized in particular modern philosophy. Ultimately, we would like to highlight two figures ormodels that embody and ground in a paradigmatic way
the dynamic of Weilian detached thinking. Figures who, being one masculine and the other feminine, can open us to further horizons of reflections about anthropological and ontological meaning of thinking as such.

Keywords: Detachment – Death of the ego -Logos – Metaxu – Matter

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 31-42

Maria Montessori: The redemptive power of education (Giuseppe Milan)

Abstract: Maria Montessori is known for being the creator of one of the most popular pedagogical theories in the world: the Montessori method. Her alternative pedagogy is opposed to traditional teaching, which advocates homogeneous and standardized learning. Montessori advocated that children have The Absorbent Mind, the capacity to develop and learn on their own. In this article, we summarize her fascinating life and some of the most important contributions she has made to education.

Keywords: Childhood education – Child respect – Absorbent mind – Scientific pedagogy – Peace education

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 43-57

Hannah Arendt: Freedom in the story of a lifetime (Laura Boella)

Abstract: Hannah Arendt’s first book, dedicated to Rahel Varnhagen, offers the opportunity to reflect on the interweaving of first and second birth, one of the central themes of Vita activa (1958). Arendt’s theory of political action delivers an idea of freedom which is not an affirmation of the power of the ego against what resists its control. A freedom which maintains its power of innovation intact with respect to any fixation and automatism, but remains bound to reality because in the latter it opens up space of the search for something that goes beyond pure happening, opens up the space for the search for meaning.

Keywords: Love for the world – Fellows of suffering – Freedom – Plurality – Hannah Arendt

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 59-65

Simone de Beauvoir: The 'second sex' between past and present (Angela Ales Bello)

Abstract: Reading once again Simone de Beauvoir’s book, The Second Sex, it is possible to pinpoint some proposals in the field of feminine studies from the twenties of the last century until our times. This book was very important for the French culture in the Fifties, but one has to recognise that in other European countries the situation was different. For example, twenty years before in Germany there was Edith Stein’s proposal of dual anthropology, through which it is possible to tackle the emancipation of women in a better way. The comparison between the two women philosophers let us to clarify Beauvoir’s position on one hand and to deepen the question from a theoretical point of view, which requires a feminine philosophical foundation, on the other.

Keywords: Sex – Gender – Femminism – Difference – Dual Anthropology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 67-77

María Zambrano. The germination of the aurora and the crises of history (Antonio Bergamo)

Abstract: María Zambrano’s thought questions the meaning of history, outlining an original hermeneutics. This contribution retraces the essential features of her philosophy of history, starting from the metaphor of the dawn, from which a relational humanism and an aesthetics of the word emerge.

Key words: Crisis – Humanism – Aesthetics – Anthropology – Ethics

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 79-93

Adriana Zarri: Mystic and «contempl-active» hermit (Francesco Occhetto)

Abstract: This article presents an introduction about life and thought of Adriana Zarri, the first woman in Italy who declared herself and was collegially recognized as professional theologian. Lay hermit and militant intellectual, beyond having inaugurated the actual flourishing road of italian female theology, Zarri should be especially remembered for the books she wrote. They are a reflection of an peculiar mystical attitude, characteristic element which makes her one of the protagonist of twentieth century’s history of Christianity.

Keywords: Christian mysticism – Trinitarian theology – Lay activism – Emancipation of woman’s role – Spirituality – Ecology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 95-109

The First Women Doctors of the Church (Christof Betschart)

Abstract: The present contribution reflects on the first women to be proclaimed Doctors of the Church: Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena (1970); Thérèse of Lisieux (1997); Hildegard of Bingen (2012). The first point of interest explored here is that of the status of teaching in the Church, outside of the ordained ministry. The article then examines the symbolic and spiritual theology of these women. In conclusion, it attempts to define future points of reference for the ecclesial doctorate, in consideration of what may be described as the specifically female genius.

Keywords: Women in the Church – Doctors of the Church – Munus docendi – Priesthood – Female theology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 111-119

Paolo Scirpa. Vortices investigating the unknown (Marta Michelacci)

Abstract: Paolo Scirpa, Sicilian artist, has played an important role in the context of twentieth century art. His experiences are in the field of optical art but are characterized by an original style. He is the author of the Ludoscopes, or optical machines with neon structures, which lead the observer to experiment with infinite perspectives. Trained alongside Lucio Fontana and therefore influenced by Spatialism, he then developed a personal language that is enriched with metaphorical allusions. Appreciated by Bruno Munari but also by Pierre Restany, he has exhibited in various parts of the world, never ceasing to experiment with new solutions. In a recent exhibition in Turin, 100% Italy: 100 years of masterpieces (21 September 2018 – 10 February 2019) his works were presented for their contribution to the development of the art of the twentieth century.

Keywords: Art History – Paolo Scirpa – Ludoscopes – Light calligraphy – Italy

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 121-139


Frailty and transcendence in the exodal anthropology of Madeleine Delbrêl (Edi Natali)

Abstract: This article comes almost as an extract from my book Madeleine Delbrêl. Frailty and transcendence, the result of my doctoral research, in which I outlined the delbrêlian anthropology and spirituality: an “exodal” anthropology, which finds its peculiar character in frailty, and a spirituality that is embodied in the feriality of existence.

Keywords: Frailty – Transcendence – Anthropology – Delbrêl – Spirituality

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 141-151

Mary and the pres-ent. For a Trinitarian exegesis of the Word. Ontological insights into the New Testament Greek of the koinè (Rosario Cerciello)

Abstract: Can silence say about Being? God spoke to the prophets; but Mary’s unicum appears immanent to the fact, because it is the Act that determines its time, so as to be able to define a Via Trinitatis in Maria. She, ‘Trinitarian Pause’, participating in that present, lives as a Mother, like a silence that interrupts the Sound, generating the non-sound that becomes rhythm (‘family life’): She is a ‘pause’ of/of sound, for the voice of God to burst forth from eternity in a suspended instant (μεταξὺ): between ‘the eternal of Being’ and ‘the present of Being’. The Pres-Ent of/in Maria.

Keywords: Mary – Silence of Being – Trinitarian Pause – Pres-Ent – Via Trinitatis

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 153-167

Democratic societies under the spell of the culture of fear: the perspective of Martha C. Nussbaum and Pope Francis (Valerio Aversano)

Abstract: Fear seems to be one of the typical features of modern life, emerging as a ‘culture’ and a perspective for interpreting life. After a brief discussion on Martha Nussbaum’s perspective on the role of fear in our societies, this article analyses the vision of fear that emerges from Fratelli tutti with reference to what Pope Francis calls the “culture of walls”. Next, it addresses the idea and practice of fraternity in the encyclical: can it constitute an “antidote” to the culture of fear?

Keywords: Fear – Fratelli tutti – Fraternity – Nussbaum – Walls

Read full article in English: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 169-181


Etty Hillesum: From self-opening to humanity (Camila Bortolato Putarov)

Abstract: Etty Hillesum’s spiritual journey is characterized by an encounter with what mystics call the depths of the soul, the deepest and most intimate locus of the subject. Discovering the superabundance of love received from God, she also discovers herself called to give herself entirely to humanity to the point of self-forgetfulness. In such a way Etty Hillesum experiences a profound unity with herself, with God and with each other.

Keywords: Cosmology – Transcendence – Self-knowledge – Self-giving – Spiritual journey

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 183-198


When the intelligence of the Agápe becomes what it is: intelligence from the crucified Agápe (Eduard Prenga)

Il pensare crocefisso. L’esperienza di Francesco a La Verna nell’Itinerarium di Bonaventura di T. Bertolasi (Città Nuova, 2022)

Abstract: The book of Tommaso Bertolasi revolves around the phenomenology of reciprocity between experience and cognition. The goal of these lines is more than being just a book review. Instead, they represent an invitation and a recommendation:

– An invitation to delve into Bonaventure’s way of thinking in the light of his own texts, for which the figure of St. Francis serves as measure and method.

– A recommendation for the dialogic continuation of the innovative perspectives, hermeneutically disclosed through the research of Bertolasi.

Keywords: Medieval Philosophy – Phenomenology – Itinerarium – Bonaventure – Crucified

Read the full review in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 199-204

Alius in alio, quia non aliud in utroque. Unity as the distinguishing mark of Trinitarian relational theo-ontology (Robert Cheaib)

Unità. Metafisica, teologia, cosmologia, (Dizionario Dinamico di Ontologia Trinitaria, 3) a cura di M. Marianelli ed E. Pili (Città Nuova, 2022)

Abstract: The guiding principle that transpires from the three essays of Massimo Donà, Piero Coda and Carmelo Meazza starts from the divine unity, affirmed fundamentally in the language of relationship. The Trinity is the «One that is distinct» (K. Hemmerle). Such unitas Trinitatis constitutes the arx omnis unitatis. The economic gesture manifests this distinction and self-giving of the divine unity as agape that gives itself and “alienates” itself. It is precisely this self-alienation that enables the unity between Creator and creature.

Keywords: Trinity – Philosophy – Theology – Otherness

Read the full review in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-1) 205-209

«Sophia», Year XV (2023), Issue 2: Art and Recognition

Art and Recognition (Massimiliano Marianelli)
Between Action and Contemplation: The "between" as a place of mediation (Silvia Pierosara)

Abstract: Artistic experience is trace of an “in-between” that extends in the direction of the relationship with oneself, with others, and with forms of transcendence; art thus refers back to an ethical and anthropological dimension, revealing of the human the need to mediate its own immediacy and to make memory of the ways in which the tension between impulse and contemplation has become dictable. A cross between activity and passivity, freedom and necessity, the “in-between” that art exhibits is an inappropriable and irreducibly common place.

Keywords: Ethics – “In-between” – Transcendence – Memory – Passivityy

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 227-236

Art as Metaxu: Origin and fecundity of the work of art, from Plato to Simone Weil (Emmanuel Gabellieri)

Abstract: Plato has often been accused of condemning the world of images, art and artists. But as S. Weil sees it, from the Sophist to the Timaeus, Plato is always contrasting the self-referential art of the sophists with art and beauty understood as metaxu towards the divine. The analogy between the ‘divine’ art of the Timaeus and artistic creation is thus in line with the fundamental principle of the Trinitarian metaphysics of beauty, from Thomas Aquinas to Balthasar. Where Heidegger sees the origin of the work of art in the impersonal cosmic Being, here beauty and art are expressio of a Good that remains transcendent while revealing itself in a sensible way. The Logos “perfect image” of the Father “fulfils” the Platonic vision of beauty as the revelation of the Good in the world.

Keywords: Idol/Icon – Forms/Infinity – Metaxu – Divine Art – Perfect Image – Trinity

Read full article in French: Sophia» XV (2023-2) 237-249

Between Form and Event: A Note on the phenomenology of art by Carlo Diano (Gianluca Garelli)

Abstract: Through the two concepts form/event, Italian philologist and philosopher Carlo Diano elaborated an original phillosophical interpretation of ancient Greek culture. This is certainly an idealized image of classicism in its own way. Such an image, however, is still very useful in order to read, albeit in backlight, some symbolic forms that are distinctive even of late-modern culture.

Keywords: Carlo Diano – Form – Event – Greek Culture – Myth – Perfect Image – Trinity

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 251-261

The Aporia of Work: The prophetic Hegel (Massimo Donà)

Abstract: Hegel’s aesthetics as an unwitting prophecy of the Dadaist revolution. Art as a place of an impossible metaxy; as a place inhabited by the ghosts of an unprecedented coincidentia oppositorum. Halfway, always, between sensible and rational, between part and whole, between inside and outside. Where nothing is simply itself anymore.

Keywords: Beauty – Aporia – Work – Totality – Negation

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 263-288


Relational Art: Being human in a more-than-human world (Orsola Rignani)

Abstract: In problematizing instances of ontological-relational rethinking of the human in the world such as those brought forward by Michel Serres and Posthumanism, my investigation proposes an interpretation of art as (re)activation and catalyst of relations of the human with the “more-than-human” world, in a perspective of continuity and artistic cooperation whereby the human emerges as co-agent.

Keywords: Relational Art – Human – Michel Serres – More-Than-Human – Posthumanism

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 289-297

The He in Postmodernity (Francesco Postorino)

Abstract: In this article the author attempts to show that a new interpretation of the Easter mystery of the three days can allow us to review the link between the I and the you, and between the I and him, within the disorienting dynamics of postmodernity. In addition to the first and second pronoun, in fact, there is a third pronoun that finally awaits a rendez-vous between the disenchantment of Saturday and the light of Sunday.

Keywords: Nihilism – Postmodernity – Pronouns – You – Him – Three

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 299-309

Unveiling Paradoxes: Driving Progress in Physics (Marco Sanchioni)

Abstract: This article delves into the evolving relationship between theoretical discoveries and empirical verification in physics. It addresses the challenges posed by the empirical incoherence of Quantum Gravity and explores the role of paradoxes as a guide in scientific progress. While experiments remain crucial for validating theories, the paper argues that paradoxes can provide valuable insights and motivate the development of new theories. By examining the concept of paradoxes, analysing their role in fundamental physics, and focusing on black hole paradoxes in Quantum Gravity, this paper proposes a heuristic approach to incorporating paradoxes into scientific inquiry. It emphasises the convergence of paradox analysis and experimental validation for a comprehensive understanding of the natural world.

Keywords: Paradoxes – Empirical verification – Quantum Gravity – Theoretical Discoveries – Scientific Progress – Black Hole Paradoxes

Read full article in English: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 313-335

Between Life and Work: Art as a sign of the "human figure" in the thought of Tzvetan Todorov (Serena Meattini)

Abstract: The paper focuses on art as an intermediate space “between” ethics and aesthetics, trying to highlight the relationship of mutual influence between these two areas, starting from some reflections on art proposed by Tzvetan Todorov in different places and contexts of his production. In particular, it aims to highlight how the author’s interest in literature and visual arts is rooted in the broader attempt to understand the human being, in anthropological, social and political terms. In this sense, this paper’s purpose is to show how both the analysis conducted by Todorov in literary criticism and the numerous writings dedicated to the visual arts have as a prerequisite the clarification of the «relationship between “life” and “work”» by which art is conceived as connected to the fragility and incompleteness that characterize the human being.

Keywords: Tzvetan Todorov – In-between – Ethics – Aesthetics – Human condition

Read full article in English: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 337-346


Poetry and the Face: The role of poetics in Proper Names by Emmanuel Levinas (Giulia Tosti)

Abstract: ALevinassian perspective, influenced by Jewish tradition and French phenomenology, sees art as an idolatrous practice devoid of ethical value. In Proper Names, however, poetry is the most proper expression of the face, as a language capable of reaching beyond being. The perspective offered in this work therefore seems to break with the previous criticism of art.

Keywords: Levinas – Art – Poetry – Ethics – Aesthetics

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 347-353

The Visibility of the Church: Schmitt and Augustine (Alessandro Borghesi)

Abstract: The article compares the ecclesiological vision of the young Carl Schmitt in <em>The Visibility of the Church</em> with that of Augustine in <em>The City of God</em>. From this brief comparison, it emerges that the former emphasizes the weight of the law, while the latter emphasizes love in the renewal of the Catholic Church.

Keywords: Schmitt – Agostino – Caritas – Church – Civitas Dei

Read full article in French: Sophia» XV (2023-2) 355-366

On the Soul as Metaxy and the Place where Art is Born in Simone Weil (Mary Elisabeth Trini)

Abstract: TSimone Weil uses the notion of soul to make her way beyond the horizon of phenomenality critically established by modern subjectivity. However, the Weilian way does not lead to an abandonment of the subjective polarity that interfaces with reality nor to a purely aesthetic turn of thought for which the primacy of the subject is replaced by that of the “other than the subject”, but to a re-articulation founded on the metaxological character of the soul. From this point of view, the ψυχή appears as the place of an erotic from which the possible mediation between sensitive and intelligible begins, a space of authentic inspiration and the first worksite of any kind of “art”.

Keywords: Simone Weil – Art – Soul – Mediation – Metaxy

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 367-374

Art as a Place of Mediation in the Thought of Martha C. Nussbaum: Towards the acceptance of one's own and others' humanity (Giulia Brunetti)

Abstract: Nussbaum has been accused of instrumentalizing artistic work and undermining philosophical rigor with her project of a marriage between moral philosophy and literature. These voices, far from being residual in the debate that has made the thinker famous, show the innovative nature of her ideas for American Analytics. We believe that Nussbaum’s conception of art – which corroborates the philosopher’s cognitive-valuative theory of emotions –, as a transitional object and a site for the recognition of a common humanity, allows the criticism to be refuted. Also, it goes much further, legitimizing and substantiating a reading of the artwork as a space of relationship with one’s interiority and otherness.

Keywords: Art – Mediation – Recognition – Humanity – Self – Otherness

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 375-384


The Haitian Revolution: human closeness and distance through art (Andrés Calderón Ramos)

Abstract: The Haitian Revolution was an event where various types of relationalities clashed and were challenged, but the art of the time tended to reduce this event to a stage of barbarism and massacres against the white population, thus reducing all relationalities to a dichotomy between civilisation and barbarism.

Keywords: Haitian Revolution – Art – Relation – Alterity – Representation

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 385-389

Costantino Nivola: space and the mediation of the arts (Adele Rugini)

Abstract: A mediator between European and American culture, Costantino Nivola (Orari 1911 – New York 1988) transcended the limits of “pure” art, experimenting with a fruitful dialogue between painting, sculpture, and architecture. The “synthesis of the arts”, the ongoing search for the interaction between visual arts and modernist architecture, transformed his conception of space (public and private) as a participatory element. Hence the idea of art linked to society, the belief in an aesthetic capable of weaving relationships and shaping a community. Nivola’s production reveals the constant effort to understand and interpret space, revealing its unity and harmony in different configurations.

Keywords: Costantino Nivola – Space – Synthesis of the Arts – Mediation, Architecture

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 391-396

Like a Seaweed: Transformativity in and from "between", through María Zambrano and Michel Serres (Benedetta Sonaglia)

Abstract: The paper describes the transformative process that is generated by inhabiting the place of “between”, outlining the roots of a philosophy of vulnerability that emphasizes the paideutic and prophetic role of the exiled and fragile. It is through the metaphor of the seaweed that philosopher María Zambrano and philosopher Michel Serres narrate the unconventional condition of the fragile and the exiled: to be out-of-place enough to be able to move to see, opening oneself to the transformation this entails. The two philosophers’ thinking is inspired by a poetic and maternal sensibility, that prefers perception to rational thought, listening and observing the world from the bowels, and that accredits the dimension of vulnerability as favored by the philosophical approach.

Keywords: Vulnerability – Between – Transformativity – Exiled – Frail

Read full article in English: «Sophia» XV (2023-2) 397-403


The Datum of Art: Object and relation. Chronicle of the International Conference of the "Art and Recognition" Research Group (Paolo Valore)

Abstract: Chronicle of the international conference <em>Il dato dell’arte: oggetto e relazione</em>, held on 24 and 25 May, at the University of Perugia and connected to the “Art and recognition” research group, which brings together, to date, around twenty of universities and numerous scholars, interested in the intersection of art, philosophy of mediation, history of philosophy, psychology and literature.

Keywords: Art – Recognition – Object – Relationship – Between

Read full article in Italian: Sophia XV (2023-2) 405-412 

History of Philosophy from an Anthropological Perspective: A necessary or impossible undertaking? (Francesca Annamaria Gambini)

Abstract: On the occasion of the release of <em>Anima, corpo, relazioni. Storia della filosofia da una prospettiva antropologica</em>, edited by proff. Marianelli, Mauro, Moschini and D’Anna, the paper delves into the strengths and the limits of the anthropological approach in history of philosophy. The article underlines that an authentic anthropological perspective in philosophical issues can only arise by dropping an anthropocentric standpoint: adequate answers to the question of humanity’s position in the world can be found only decentering the human, a process articulated in the textbook through a metaxological framework.

Keywords: History of Philosophy – Anthropological Perspective – Humanism – Metaxology – Anti-Anthropocentrism

Download the Issue to read the Forum in Italian:«Sophia» XV (2023-2) 413-421


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