Deceased Academicians

Enrico Berti


Enrico Berti

Date of birth 03 November 1935

Place Valeggio sul Mincio, Italy (Europe)

Nomination 28 September 2001

Field Philosophy

Title Professor

Place and date of death Padua, Italy † 05 January 2022

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Commemoration

Most important awards, prizes and academies 
President of the Member of the Institut International de Philosophie, Paris; Corresponding Fellow of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome; Fellow of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti and the Accademia Galileiana di Scienze, Lettere e Arti of Padua; Société Européenne de Culture; Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie; Member of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas and of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. 

Summary of scientific research
The first subject of my research was the philosophy of Aristotle, which has continued to be central to my interests. I then extended my studies to the Aristotelian tradition in ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary times, with particular attention to dialectics and the problem of contradiction. More recently I have discussed the possibilities of metaphysics within contemporary philosophy and dedicated myself to problems of ethics and political philosophy.

Main publications
Berti, E., La filosofia del primo Aristotele, Padova, Cedam (1962), pp. 590 (II ed., Milano,Vita e pensiero, 1997); Berti, E., Il 'De re publica' di Cicerone e il pensiero politico classico, Padova, Cedam (1963), pp. 103; Berti, E., L'unità del sapere in Aristotele, Padova, Cedam (1965), pp. 202; Berti, E., Studi aristotelici, L'Aquila, Japadre (1975), pp. 364; Berti, E., Aristotele: dalla dialettica alla filosofia prima, Padova, Cedam (1977), pp. 477; Berti, E., Ragione filosofica e ragione scientifica nel pensiero moderno, Roma, La Goliardica (1977), pp. 239; Berti, E., La metafisica di Platone e di Aristotele nell'interpretazione di Antonio Rosmini, Roma, Città Nuova (1977), pp. 182; Berti, E., Profilo di Aristotele, Roma, Studium (1979), pp. 332 (II ed. 1985, III ed. 1993); Berti, E., Logica aristotelica e dialettica, Bologna, Cappelli, pp. 63; Berti, E., Il bene, Brescia, La Scuola (1983) (II ed. 1984), pp. 245; Berti, E., Il pensiero d'occidente (with Moravia, S.), Pagine e testimonianze, Firenze, Le Monnier (1987) (ristampato nel 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1994), pp. 706; Berti, E., Contraddizione e dialettica negli antichi e nei moderni, Palermo, L'Epos (1987), pp. 306; Berti, E., Le vie della ragione, Bologna, Il Mulino (1987), pp. 299; Berti, E., Analitica e dialettica nel pensiero antico, Napoli, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane (1989), pp. 45; Berti, E., Le ragioni di Aristotele, Roma-Bari, Laterza (1989), pp. 186 (Portug. trans., As razões de Aristóteles, São Paulo, Brasil, Edições Loyola, 1998, pp. 191); Berti, E., Storia della filosofia, vol. I, Antichità e medioevo, Roma-Bari, Laterza (1991) (VIII ed. 2000), pp. xix, 295; Berti, E., Storia della filosofia, vol. II, Dal Quattrocento al Settecento, Roma-Bari, Laterza (1991) (VII ed. 1998), pp. XII, 293; Berti, E., Storia della filosofia, vol. III, Ottocento e Novecento (with Volpi, F.), Roma-Bari, Laterza (1991) (VIII ed. 2000), pp. xvi, 465; Berti, E., Aristotele nel Novecento, Roma-Bari, Laterza (1992), pp. 278 (Portug. trans., Aristóteles no século XX, trad. D. Davi Macedo, São Paulo, Brasil, Edições Loyola, 1997, pp. 334); Berti, E., Introduzione alla metafisica, Torino, Utet-Libreria, 1993, pp. 125 (Polish trans., Wprowadzenie do metafizyki, Warszawa, PAN, 2002); Berti, E., Soggetti di responsabilità. Questioni di filosofia pratica, Reggio Emilia, Edizioni Diabasis (1993), pp. 222; Berti, E., Platone teoretico, in Enciclopedia multimediale delle scienze filosoficheLe radici del pensiero filosofico, 1: La filosofia greca dai Presocratici ad Aristotele, vol. VII, Roma, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana (1993), pp. 91; Berti, E., Il pensiero politico di Aristotele, Roma-Bari, Laterza (1997), pp. 208; Berti, E., Filosofia (with Girotti, A.), Brescia, La Scuola (2000), pp. 224; Berti, E., Filosofia pratica, Napoli, Guida (2004); Berti, E., Aristotele: dalla dialettica alla filosofia prima, con saggi integrativi, Milano, Bompiani (2004); Berti, E., Nuovi studi aristotelici, I – Epistemologia, logica e dialettica, Brescia, Morcelliana (2004), Berti, E., Nuovi studi aristotelici, II – Fisica, antropologia e metafisica, Brescia, Morcelliana (2005); Berti, E., Incontri con la filosofia contemporanea, Pistoia, Editrice Petite Plaisance (2006); Berti, E., In principio era la meraviglia. Le grandi questioni della filosofia antica, Roma-Bari, Laterza (2007); Berti, E., Aristotele nel Novecento, Laterza (2008); Berti, E., Nuovi studi aristotelici, III – La filosofia pratica, Brescia, Morcelliana (2008).

Enrico Berti’s training was essentially philosophical and for this reason, perhaps, he said that he “did not feel worthy to belong to this famous Academy, composed mainly of renowned scientists”. He studied philosophy at the University of Padua, which was a famous center for the dissemination of Aristotelianism during the Renaissance, and has preserved some traces of this tradition to this day. He was professor of philosophy at the universities of Perugia, Geneva and Brussels, as well as professor of philosophy in Padua, where he directed a Centre for the history of the Aristotelian tradition. As a renowned philosopher he was elected member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Rome), which participates with our Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the heritage of the ancient Accademia dei Lincei, the Academy of the Lynxes, the leader of which was Galileo Galilei. As a philosopher, Berti was elected member of the Institut International de Philosophie (Paris). As President of the International Programme Committee, he organised the 21st World Congress of Philosophy on behalf of the FISP (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie).

If someone generously proposed his name for this Academy, there must be a reason and I suppose it has to do with the main field of his vast philosophical interests, and that is the philosophy of Aristotle. He devoted many years of his life to this philosopher and to the history of his influence on European culture, with the result that he is known essentially as a scholar of Aristotle. The study of Aristotelian philosophy obviously gave him the basis to develop some important reflections in most fields of philosophical thought: logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of nature, metaphysics, ethics, politics, cosmology, etc. Moreover, as Aristotle was not only a great philosopher, but also a great scientist, especially in the fields of biology, psychology, anthropology and human sciences, the study of his works necessarily implied for Berti an interest in ancient and modern science as a whole. And since Aristotle’s thought influenced the history of science throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages, not only in Christian countries but also in Muslim countries, the reconstruction of the Aristotelian tradition obliged him to study the sciences of late antiquity and the Middle Ages in their entirety.

In modern times, as is well known, Aristotle’s thought was abandoned and rejected by the development of some sciences such as astronomy, mechanics and chemistry, and this rejection led to some extent to the birth of modern science. But Aristotle’s teaching still has a fundamental role in the development of other sciences, such as biology, medicine and human sciences (psychology, linguistics, rhetoric). And even where Aristotle’s influence was rejected and opposed, his logic and method remained a model for modern science.

In his studies on the presence of Aristotelian philosophy in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries, Berti showed that this influence was decisive not only on philosophers such as Hegel, Trendelenburg, Brentano, Moore, Heidegger, Gadamer, Austin, Ryle and others, but also on scientists such as Darwin, Jacob, Delbrück, Mayr, Prigogyne, Thom and others. The French mathematician Réné Thom, for example, experienced a real rediscovery of Aristotelian physics in his last years. For these reasons, Berti thought that it was impossible to adequately study Aristotle’s philosophy and its connections with the contemporary philosophical debate without knowing the state of the discussion in the main fields of contemporary science. His important contributions to the PAS had compelled him to become involved in some of them, not as a philosopher of science, nor as a logician analysing the methods of science, but as a philosopher deeply interested in the contents of contemporary sciences in order to understand the universe, the planet and the condition of the human being in a cognitive world where science predominates. It can be said, therefore, that his work has contributed to some extent, quite decisively, to the new vision of the world that has shaped the Academy in this quarter of a century.

+ Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

Humanity’s Responsibility Toward Nature (PDF) 2014

Mind and Soul? Two Notions in the Light of Contemporary Philosophy (PDF) 2012

Religion's Two Alternative and Complementary Pathways: From Faith to Reason and from Reason to Faith (PDF) 2012 

The Discovery of DNA as a Contribution to Understand the Aristotelian Theory of Generation (PDF) 2010

Is the DNA Sequence a Sufficient Definition of Human Nature? A Comparison Between Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Jacques Maritain (PDF) 2006

The Classical Notion of the Person in Today’s Philosophical Debate (PDF) 2005

Self-Presentation (PDF) 2002

The Relationship Between Science, Religion and Aristotelian Theology Today (PDF) 2000