chapter
Della Volpe, Galvano
Pages 5

Philosopher Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of Messina and the most influential postwar Italian Marxist philosopher, Della Volpe was formed within the neoidealist tradition associated with Giovanni Gentile and Benedetto Croce, but soon rejected their idealist position in Critica dei principi logici (Critique of Logical Principles) (1942). He joined the PCI (Italian Communist Party) in 1944, and in the immediate postwar years explored the relationship between Marxism and the work of Hegel, culminating in his first major Marxist work, Logica come scienza positiva (Logic as Positive Science) (1950). Della Volpe helped form a generation of younger Marxist philosophers, of whom the best-known is Lucio Colletti. His most widely-read work, Rousseau e Marx e altri saggi di critica materialistica (Rousseau and Marx and Other Essays on Materialist Criticism) (1957) traces the two strands of modern democracycivil liberty and social liberty-back to their eighteenthcentury origins. Della Volpe then argues that only the ‘socialist legality’ of communism can provide an effective historical synthesis of these two traditions. Nevertheless, Della Volpe’s most influential book remains a work of aesthetic theory. In Critica del gusto (Critique of Taste) (1960) he attempts to develop a ‘rational poetics’ by demonstrating that conceptual meaning cannot be separated from aesthetic effect.