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Gaetano Sanseverino

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Restorer of the Scholastic philosophy in Italy, b. at Naples, 1811; d. there of cholera, 16 Nov., 1865. He made his studies in the seminary at Nola, where his uncle was rector. After his ordination, he continued the study of philosophy, with the special view of comparing the various systems. He became a canon of the cathedral of Naples, professor of logic and metaphysics in the seminary substitute-professor of ethics in the university, and eventually scrittore in the National Library.

Sanseverino had been educated in the Cartesian system, which at that time prevailed in the ecclesiastical schools of Italy, but his comparative study of the various systems supplied him with a deeper knowledge of the Scholastics, particularly St. Thomas, and of the intimate connection between their doctrine and that of the Fathers. From that time until the end of his life, his only concern was the restoration of Christian philosophy, in which, not only by his writings, but by his lectures and conversation, he was of supreme assistance to Leo XIII. With this object, he founded, in 1840, "La Scienza e la Fede", a periodical which was continued until 1887 by his disciples and associates, Signoriello and d'Amelio. His principal work is "Philosophia christiana cum antiqua et nova comparata" (5 vols., Naples, 1862). This work is incomplete, covering only logic and psychology, but one hardly knows whether to admire most its lucidity of exposition, its copiousness of argument, or the vast number of authors cited and discussed. His first work on a large scale, and that which assured his reputation as a teacher, was "I principali sistemi della filosofia del criterio, discussi colla dottrina de' Santi Padri e de' Dottori del Medio Evo" (Naples, 1850-53), in which he discusses and confutes the systems of Hume and Gioberti on the criterion of truth. Another important work of his is "La dottrina di S. Tommaso sull' origine del potere e sul preteso diritto di resistenza" (on the origin of authority and the pretended right of resistance) (Naples, 1853). "Elementa philosophiæ christianæ" (Naples, 1864-70) was written for the use of his classes, the last volume (Ethics) being edited by his disciple Signoriello. Besides the two already mentioned, his disciples included Talamo, Prisco (now a cardinal ) Cacace, Galvanese, and Giustiniani.

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