Ion Petrovici

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Ion Petrovici
Born June 2/14 1882
Died February 17, 1972
Occupation philosopher, essayist, memorialist, writer, orator, politician
Parent(s) Ortansa and Dimitrie Petrovici

Ion Petrovici (June 2/14 1882 – February 17, 1972), Romanian philosopher, essayist, memorialist, writer, orator, and politician, professor at University of Iaşi, member of the Romanian Academy, Minister of National Education, a leading figure in Romanian culture, was one of those scholars, men of art, culture, and science, that brought a major contribution in making the Romanian people, their culture and civilization, known to the world.


Ion Petrovici was born on June 2/14 1882, in Tecuci, as the son of Dimitrie Petrovici and Ortansa Petrovici, grandchild of Junimist poet Theodor Şerbănescu's sister. Between 1892 and 1899 he attends secondary school at Sf. Sava College in Bucharest. In the autumn of 1899 he is admitted at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy in Bucharest, having Titu Maiorescu and Nicolae Iorga as teachers. During the same autumn he presented his rhymed play O sărutare to the National Theatre of Bucharest, which, recommended by I. L. Caragiale, was played on March 21, 1900. He participated in the summer of 1904, as a member of a student delegation representing the University of Bucharest, at the commemoration of 400 years since Stephen the Great's death, that took place in Suceava, being at that time under Austrian administration. In 1904 he got his university degree in Philosophy with the dissertation O problemă de filosofie (A Philosophy Problem) and a year later, in June 1905, Ion Petrovici becomes the first Doctor of Philosophy of a Romanian university with the work Paralelismul psiho-fizic (Psychological-physical Parallelism). During the university year 1905-1906, for two semesters, he attends philosophy classes in Leipzig, held by Wilhelm Wundt and Hans Volkelt; and in Berlin, where he attend the lectures of Friedrich Paulsen, Wilhelm Dilthey and Alois Riehl. In November 1906 he is named lecturer in the Philosophy department at Iaşi University and in 1912 he is named professor. Between 1923 and 1926 he is dean at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy in Iaşi. At the end of January 1932 he was invited to the University of Paris and to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in (Paris), where he presents the lectures La Nationalité en Philosophie and L'Idée de néant. Begins collaboration with André Lalande and Paul Gaultier. On May 28, 1935 he is chosen member of the Romanian Academy. In Octavian Goga's government (1937–1938), Ion Petrovici becomes Minister of National Education; in this role he establishes a Philosophy department at Cluj University for Lucian Blaga.[citation needed] As part of an anti-Semitic government, he also personally introduced a numerus clausus in schools and was collectively responsible for the government's decision to strip some 200,000 Romanian Jews of their citizenship. From 1941 to 1944 he was Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs in Ion Antonescu's government, organizing an intergovernmental agency that coordinated the deportation of Jewish converts.[1]

He was arrested following the advent of the Communist regime in 1947 and imprisoned until a general amnesty of political prisoners in 1964. He died in Bucharest in 1972, several months before his 90th birthday.

In Philosophy, Ion Petrovici brought original contributions with his research in Logic regarding the theory of notions and with his methaphisical conception, the brings faith and reason together. Ion Petrovici was, in the interwar period, the most known Romanian philosopher in the world. For decades he was a constant contributor to the most prestigious philosophy magazines in France and Germany, being invited, a number of times, to lead international congresses' works.

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. ^ 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