Ion Petrovici

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Ion Petrovici
Born June 2/14 1882
Died February 17, 1972
Occupation professor of philosophy and politician
Parent(s) Ortansa and Dumitru Petrovici

Ion (Ioan) Petrovici (June 2/14 1882 – February 17, 1972), Romanian professor of philosophy at the University of Iaşi, Member of the Romanian Academy and Minister of National Education in the far right Goga ministry.


Ion Petrovici was born on June 2/14 1882, in Tecuci, the son of Dumitru and Ortansa Petrovici,[1] and the grandchild of Junimist poet Theodor Şerbănescu's sister. Between 1892 and 1899 he attended secondary school at Sf. Sava College in Bucharest. He enrolled at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy in Bucharest in autumn 1899, having Titu Maiorescu and Nicolae Iorga as teachers. He proposed his rhymed play O sărutare to the National Theatre of Bucharest during the same autumn. As I. L. Caragiale commended it, the play was performed on 21st March 1900. (He later became a board member of the National Theatre.)[2] As a member of a student delegation representing the University of Bucharest, Petrovici participated in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Stephen the Great's death, which took place in the then Austrian town of Suceava in summer 1904. He graduated in Philosophy in 1904, with the dissertation O problemă de filosofie (A Philosophy Problem) and became the first home-grown Romanian Doctor of Philosophy in June 1905, with the PhD thesis Paralelismul psiho-fizic (Psychological-physical Parallelism). Petrovici attended philosophy classes by Wilhelm Wundt and Hans Volkelt in Leipzig and by Friedrich Paulsen, Wilhelm Dilthey and Alois Riehl in Berlin during the academic year 1905-1906. He was appointed lecturer at the Philosophy Department of the University of Iaşi in November 1906 and professor in 1912. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy in Iaşi between 1923 and 1926. He was a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques in (Paris) at the end of January 1932, where he lectured on La Nationalité en Philosophie and L'Idée de néant. He collaborated with André Lalande and Paul Gaultier. He was elected member of the Romanian Academy on 28th May 1935.
As a member of Octavian Goga's anti-Semitic ministry (1937–1938),[3] Ion Petrovici planned to restrict the access of Jewish pupils to universities (the so-called numerus clausus)[4] and decided that Romanian language, history and geography teachers be only ethnic Romanians.[5] From 1941 to 1944 he served as Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs in Ion Antonescu's government, organizing an intergovernmental agency that coordinated the deportation of Jewish converts.[6]
He was arrested in 1948 following the advent of the Communist regime and sentenced to 10 years of hard labour for his participation in the Antonescu ministry.[7] After serving his sentence, he was deported to Bărăgan in 1958.[8]
Petrovici died in Bucharest in 1972.
Petrovici contributed to Philosophy with his research in Logic regarding the theory of notions and with his metaphysical conception, which connects faith to reason. Ion Petrovici was an internationally known philosopher during interwar period. He contributed to prestigious philosophy journals in France and Germany and chaired international congresses.

Selected philosophical writings[edit]

In Romanian[edit]

  • Paralelismul psiho-fizic (Psychological-physical Parallelism, 1905)
  • Rolul şi însemnătatea filosofiei (The Purpose and Importance of Philosophy, 1907)
  • Teoria noţiunilor. Studii de logică (Theory of Notions. Studies in Logics, 1910)
  • Introducere în metafizică (Introduction to Metaphysics, 1924)
  • Teoria noţiunilor (Theory of Notions, 1924)
  • Studii istorico-filosofice (Historical-philosophical Studies, 1925)
  • Viaţa şi opera lui Kant (The Life and Work of Kant, 1936)
  • Schopenhauer (1937)
  • Scrieri istorico-filosofice (Historical-philosophical Writings, 1943)

Other languages[edit]

  • Kant und das rumänische Denken (1927)
  • La nationalité en philosophie (1932)
  • Réflexions sur l'inconséquence (1934)
  • La connaissance humaine et le transcendent (1937)
  • La philosophie du compromis (1937)

Literary Writings[edit]

  • Raite prin ţară (Wandering through the Country, 1926)
  • Impresii din Italia (Impressions of Italy, 1930)
  • Deasupra zbuciumului (Above Distress, 1932)
  • Rotocoale de lumină (Circles of Light, 1934)
  • Figuri dispărute (Missing Shapes, 1937)
  • Prin meandrele trecutului. Evocări inedite (Through Meanderings of the Past. New Recollections, 1979, posthumous)
  • Însemnări de drum (Travel Notes, 1983, posthumous)


  1. ^ Matricola penală:
  2. ^ Monitorul Oficial 09/22.10.1911 (N. 152), 7092 (N. 3067).
  3. ^ Monitorul Oficial 28.12.1937 (N. 299), p. 9665-9666 (N. 4322).
  4. ^ Siebenbürgisch-Deutsches Tageblatt 05.01.1938: Numerus clausus an den Hochschulen.
  5. ^ Monitorul Oficial 29.01.1938 (N. 23), p. 634 (N. 238).
  6. ^ Michael Shafir, "Memory, Memorials, and Membership", in Henry F. Carey, Romania since 1989: Politics, Economics, and Society, p.74. Lexington Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7391-0592-2
  7. ^ Matricola penală:
  8. ^ Matricola penală: