Thinking the Inexhaustible

Art, Interpretation, and Freedom in the Philosophy of Luigi Pareyson

Edited by Silvia Benso & Brian Schroeder
Foreword by Dennis J. Schmidt

Subjects: Philosophy, Hermeneutics, Aesthetics, Continental Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438470252, 230 pages, September 2018
Paperback : 9781438470269, 230 pages, July 2019

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Table of contents


Dennis J. Schmidt

Introduction: Thinking the Inexhaustible
Silvia Benso and Brian Schroeder

1. Luigi Pareyson: A Master in Italian Hermeneutics
Silvia Benso

2. When Transcendence Is Finite: Pareyson, the Person, and the Limits of Being
Antonio Calcagno

3. Pareyson’s Role in Twentieth-Century Italian Aesthetics
Paolo D’Angelo

4. Pareyson vs. Croce: The Novelties of Pareyson’s 1954 Estetica
Umberto Eco

5. On Pareyson’s Interpretation of Kant’s Third Critique
Massimo Cacciari

6. Pareyson’s Aesthetics as Hermeneutics of Art
Federico Vercellone

7. The Unfamiliarity of Kindredness: Toward a Hermeneutics of Community
Robert T. Valgenti

8. Truth as the Origin (Rather Than Goal) of Inquiry
Lauren Swayne Barthold

9. The “I” Beyond the Subject/Object Opposition: Pareyson’s Conception of the Self Between Hegel and Heidegger
Paolo Diego Bubbio

10. From Aesthetics to the Ontology of Freedom
Gianni Vattimo

11. Evil in God: Pareyson’s Ontology of Freedom
Martin G. Weiss

12. Philosophy and Novel in the Later Pareyson
Sergio Givone


Essays address the major themes of Pareyson’s hermeneutic philosophy in the context of his existentialist approach to personhood.


What if the inexhaustible were the only mode of self-revelation of truth? The question of the inexhaustibility of truth, and its relation to being and interpretation, is the challenge posed by the philosophy of the prominent Italian thinker Luigi Pareyson (1918–1991). Art, the interpretation of truth, and the theory of being as the ontology of both inexhaustibility and freedom constitute the main themes of Pareyson's distinctive form of philosophical hermeneutics, which develops also on the basis of another fundamental concept, that of personhood understood in the radically existentialist sense of the human being. In Thinking the Inexhaustible, Silvia Benso and Brian Schroeder bring together essays devoted to Pareyson's hermeneutic philosophy by important international scholars, including well-known Italian thinkers Umberto Eco and Gianni Vattimo, who were both students of Pareyson. Pareyson's philosophy of inexhaustibility unfolds in conversation with major figures in Western intellectual history—from Croce to Valéry, Dostoevsky, and Berdyaev; from Kant to Fichte, Hegel, and German romanticism; and from Pascal to Schelling, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Jaspers, and Heidegger.

Silvia Benso is Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Brian Schroeder is Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


"This book introduces, in a way that has not been done before, the central ideas from Pareyson's long philosophical career. It opens up pathways for further critical analysis and fills in a neglected history within the broader scope of continental philosophy." — James Risser, editor of Heidegger toward the Turn: Essays on the Work of the 1930s