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Giovanni Reale (15 April 1931 – 15 October 2014) was an Italian historian of philosophy.
Reale was born in Candia Lomellina, Pavia. He attended the Gymnasium and the Liceo classico of Casale Monferrato, and was then educated at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan, where he graduated. He later continued his studies in Marburg an der Lahn and Munich.
After a period of teaching in high schools, he won a professorship at the University of Parma, where he taught courses in moral philosophy and the history of philosophy. He then returned to the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan, where he was professor of the history of ancient philosophy for many years, and where he also founded the Centro di Ricerche di Metafisica. In 2005 he moved to teach at the new faculty of philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan.
His research interests range throughout the ancient pagan and Christian thought, and his most significant contributions have touched gradually Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Socrates and Augustine of Hippo. He studied each of these authors from an against-the-grain perspective and inaugurating, in the opinion of Cornelia de Vogel, a new reading of these authors.
Reale's reinterpretation of Aristotle disputes the positivist-influenced interpretation of Werner Jaeger, according to which the writings of Aristotle are informed by a progression of dominant beliefs: at first, theology, where debate is in reference to God; then metaphysics, where the universal rights of man are the focus; and finally arriving at the viewpoint of science. Reale argued instead the fundamental unity of the metaphysical thought of Aristotle.
Reale's main writings are:
- Il concetto di filosofia prima e l’unità della Metafisica di Aristotele (1961)
- Storia della filosofia antica in 5 volumi (1975, reissued several times)
- Per una nuova interpretazione di Platone (1991)
- Saggezza antica (1996)
- Eros demone mediatore (1997)
- Platone. Alla ricerca della sapienza segreta (1997)
- Corpo, anima e salute (1998)
- Socrate. Alla scoperta della sapienza umana (1999)
- Il pensiero antico (2001)
Translations and comments
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- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – «Initiative of the President of Italy», 3 June 2011
- "Roncisvalle" Prize of the University of Navarra
- Honorary citizen of Syracuse
- International Academy of Philosophy of Liechtenstein
- John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
- Moscow State University
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