| Naples: Life, Death & Miracles
|There is recent (2015)
section called allegro
ma non troppo
main index © Jeff Matthews entry Dec 2008
institute was founded in 1975 in Naples by Gerardo Marotta.
At first, it was under the auspices of the Accademia dei Lincei
(known in English as The Lincean Academy), the
prestigious organization founded in 1603 in Rome, at
the beginnings of modern science. (The Institute is
thus part of a long tradition in Naples that even
boasts a predecessor to the Accademia dei Lincei: the Academia
Secretorum of Giambattista
the Institute moved into the 18th-century Palazzo Serra di Cassano
(entrance, photo, right). At its heart, of course, is
the library, the nucleus of which is more than 100,000
volumes that were collected over some thirty years of
patient searching throughout Europe. The beautiful
premises are sufficiently upscale for “philosophical
studies.” (I know, I know—you don’t need upscale.
Someone famous and philosophical once said that all
you really need is a teacher, a disciple and a log to
sit on. But “upscale” is still nice.) The Palazzo Serra di Cassano
is one of the most remarkable buildings in Naples and
the Institute attracts the attention of scholars
throughout the world.
Over the years, the premises have hosted seminars with modern philosophers Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Popper and scientists such as Rita Levi Montalcini, Carlo Rubbia, Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Glashow and Ilya Prigogine, all Nobel Prize winners. The institute seems to be open all the time, at least during the long academic year (from September through late July) and is usually crawling with graduate students, researchers and just ordinary people interested in one or more of the items on the very active seminar schedule or in simply browsing in some of the publications of the Institute.
current webpage displays a wide range of material on a
long list of philosophers, from Socrates and Plato to
Kierkegaard and Nietzsche as well as a complete list
of seminars to be held in the coming months. There is
obviously some overlap with another institute in
Naples, the one for Historical Studies founded by Benedetto Croce in 1946. I see,
for example, an upcoming presentation of a recent—and
what looks to be interesting—book entitled The Hamilton Letters,
The Naples Dispatches of Sir William Hamilton.
The Institute provides student and researcher
exchanges with many foreign universities and since
1980 has had its own School of Graduate Studies.