Abstract: this paper deals with my approach to the Personalism, a philosophical tradition that in Italy had a particular political dimension. I underline as Antonio Rosmini founded a “liberal Personalism.” Rosmini’s philosophy of person is a philosophy of freedom with deep metaphysical, ethical and political connections. In his thought it is central the definition of human person as “subsistent right and very essence of right.” Rosmini’s view of “person”, seen as an inviolable end which can never be reduced to the status of “means”, leads spontaneously to what today is seen as paramount in human existence, that is, the question of human rights. In this paper, I underline the reasons for the actuality of this philosophy based on the concepts of person and liberty: in particular, I put in evidence as the Italian philosopher of the 20th century – Augusto Del Noce (1910-1989) – elaborated the fundamental ideas of Rosmini on the ontological dignity of the human being, and gave an original interpretation of the modern secular age. Departing from Rosmini he criticized the totalitarianism and he proposed a political liberalism founded on the respect of the constitutive liberties of person. In the last part of this paper I analyze the problems of multiculturalism and ethical relativism: in the dignity of the human being we can find an “overlapping consensus”.
Abstract: This essay, from John Locke to John Stuart Mill, focuses on the development of the liberal tradition in politics. Much in the history of Liberalism was a set of important challenges to Hobbes’s emphasis on the necessity of an absolute sovereign. John Locke, for instance, argued for a limited sovereignty of which people were the true repository. But, the main problem of liberals was how to protect the right to the unlimited accumulation of private property basing, at the same time, their claims to liberty on the fundamental equality of all individuals. On the other hand, democrats had the problem of how to reach the right of all individuals to determine their lives where all possibilities of material well-being and progress were based on private property. For Mill, Liberalism needed Democracy. First, it needed Democracy for ethical reasons and, secondly, to avoid the total disaffection of the lower classes, the majority. His theory – affected by Bentham’s thought – is not based, like that of Hobbes or Locke, on the idea of certain inherent natural rights of the individual, but upon the doctrines of Utilitarianism. In Bentham’s view the obstacles to good government were the sinister interests of the ruling classes. In a democracy the ruling few could only further the interests of the whole community, because there were different kinds of institutional arrangements that limited the power of the rulers. Bentham thought that the rulers could still further their sinister interest even if there was a separation of powers and the good government was guaranteed only if the rulers followed the will of the people. The balanced constitution was the traditional answer to this problem, but Mill proved, that it would not work: the only way to guarantee good government was to create a system where the people elected their representatives. The chief mechanism for keeping the elected representatives in check was to have a short interval between elections.