|Died||23 November 2013 70) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Turin|
|School||Revival of German idealism |
| Marxist philosophy |
Ancient Greek philosophy
| Communitarism |
|Part of the Politics series on|
Costanzo Preve (14 April 1943 – 23 November 2013) was an Italian philosopher and a political theoretician.
Preve is widely considered as one of the most important anti-capitalist European thinkers and a renowned expert in the history of Marxism. His thought is based on the Ancient Greek and idealistic tradition philosophy under the influence of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. He is author of many essays and volumes about philosophical interpretation, communitariansm and universalism.
Marxism is a theory and method of working-class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics.
In philosophy, idealism is the group of metaphysical philosophies that assert that reality, or reality as humans can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In contrast to materialism, idealism asserts the primacy of consciousness as the origin and prerequisite of material phenomena. According to this view, consciousness exists before and is the pre-condition of material existence. Consciousness creates and determines the material and not vice versa. Idealism believes consciousness and mind to be the origin of the material world and aims to explain the existing world according to these principles.
Born in Valenza, Preve studied philosophy, political science and ancient and modern Greek in Turin, Paris and Athens. He worked as a high school teacher from 1967 to 2002 and was engaged first in the Italian Communist Party (PCI). He then got close to Proletarian Democracy, a party created in 1975 which opposed to the historic compromise between the PCI and the Christian Democracy. After the dissolving of the PCI following the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, Preve undertook a critical review of his own positions held in the precedent decades. He gave lectures for and took part in some of the cultural activities of the Anti-Imperialist Camp, a union of international leftist anti-imperialist activists who have received much attention from the media because of their critical stand against American imperialism and Zionism. Since 2005, he wrote for geopolitical journal Eurasia .
Valenza is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of Turin and about 11 kilometres (7 mi) north of Alessandria.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as determining of the distribution of power and resources. Political scientists "see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions, and from these revelations they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world of politics works."
Preve was initially influenced by Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser before turning himself towards Georg Lukács. He rejected the important workerism current (or autonomist Marxism) during the 1960–1970s. In the 1990s, Preve returned to Althusser and criticized economism and orthodox Marxism based on a teleological philosophy of history inspired by Hegel. As did Althusser in his latter work on "random materialism" (matérialisme aléatoire), Preve insisted on the place of contingency in history and considers the class contrast between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat to be a historical passing form specific to a certain period of the capitalist mode of production. Preve conceived of the 1960s as a rupture in history in much the same way that the appearance of the proletariat in the 19th century had been as capitalism entered a new phase. However, Preve insists against Althusser on the young Marx's theory of alienation and on his theory on human nature and provocatively considered Marxism as the last phase of German idealism. Preve has also insisted on the unprecedented power of the sole hyperpower, that is the United States, warning against cultural imperialism. He criticized Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's Empire (2000).
Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy.
Workerism is a political theory that emphasizes the importance of, or glorifies, the working class. Workerism, or operaismo, was of particular significance in Italian left politics.
Economism is a term in Marxist discourse. It was used by Vladimir Lenin in his attacks on a trend in the early Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party around the newspaper Rabochaya Mysl and the writer Tony Cliff:
The Economists [in Russia] limited the tasks of the working class to an economic struggle for higher wages and better working conditions, etc., asserting that the political struggle was the business of the liberal bourgeoisie. They denied the leading role of the party of the working class, considering that the party should merely observe the spontaneous process of the movement and register events. In their deference to spontaneity in the working-class movement, the Economists belittled the significance of revolutionary theory and class-consciousness, asserted that socialist ideology could emerge from the spontaneous movement, denied the need for a Marxist party to instil socialist consciousness into the working-class movement, and thereby cleared the way for bourgeois ideology. The Economists, who opposed the need to create a centralized working-class party, stood for the sporadic and amateurish character of individual circles [or collectives]. Economism threatened to divert the working class from the class revolutionary path and turn it into a political appendage of the bourgeoisie.
Preve assigned four masters to Marx, namely Epicurus (to whom he dedicated his thesis, Difference of natural philosophy between Democritus and Epicurus, 1841) for his materialism and theory of clinamen; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from which come his idea of egalitarian democracy; Adam Smith, from whom came the idea that the grounds of property is labour; and finally Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded a highly influential school of philosophy now called Epicureanism. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristotle, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as "the Garden", in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects, and he openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. An extremely prolific writer, he is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him — the Letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus — and two collections of quotes — the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings — have survived intact, along with a few fragments and quotations of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the Roman poet Lucretius, the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the statesman Cicero, and the philosophers Philodemus and Sextus Empiricus.
Democritus was an Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher primarily remembered today for his formulation of an atomic theory of the universe.
Clinamen is the Latin name Lucretius gave to the unpredictable swerve of atoms, in order to defend the atomistic doctrine of Epicurus. In modern English it has come more generally to mean an inclination or a bias.
Preve was an atheist.On 23 November 2013, Preve died in Turin, where he lived.
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