Contemporary Italian philosophy has become recognized internationally as a distinct tradition, often associated with a post-Foucauldian notion of biopolitics and essayistic forms enabling a quick reaction to the affairs of the day yet without compromising the systematic ambitions of philosophical thought. But Emanuele Severino (1929–2020) shows a radically different side of Italian philosophy: unabashedly metaphysical, uncompromisingly Parmenidean, and increasingly recognized as one of the most remarkable and challenging thinkers of the twentieth century — in the words of Italian philosopher Massimo Cacciari, the only alternative to Martin Heidegger.

Over the course of six decades, from La struttura originaria (1958) to Testimoniando il destino (2019), Severino developed a most original and untimely philosophical project, which attempts to think the relationship between nihilism and the tradition of the West, the incontrovertibility of the truth of being, the contradiction of becoming, the eternity of all beings. Severino came to refer to his work as to ‘the language that testifies to destiny’, namely a testimony to the eternal and necessary structure of the appearing and disappearing of the eternal beings — the ‘destiny of necessity’ (Destino della necessità, 1980).

The symposium The Other Side of Italian Thought: Emanuele Severino aims to introduce the principal axes along which Severino’s thought can be unfolded to an international audience. The symposium thus joins an increasing number of international projects of the last few years: the first edited translation into English of one of Severino’s most important works, The Essence of Nihilism (2016, A. Carrera and I. Testoni, eds), the foundation of an international journal dedicated to Severino’s thought, Eternity & Contradiction: Journal of Fundamental Ontology (G. Goggi, ed.), as well as the forthcoming English translations of Severino’s Law and Chance (Legge e caso, 1979) and Beyond Language (Oltre il linguaggio, 1992) (trans. D. Sacco).

In English

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Organized by

Giulio Goggi, Federico Perelda, Damiano Sacco, and Ines Testoni

In cooperation with FISSPA University of Padua and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Berlino

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Image Credit © Federico Perelda