February 27, 2006
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v2.1 Reference

From the Nature of the Mind to Personal Dignity

The Significance of Rosmini's Philosophy

This book is the first philosophical study in English devoted to Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855) for over a century. Until recently, the Italian philosopher had been overlooked or seen as tainted with idealism. The fact that he had entertained a serious dialogue with modern thinkers, partly adopting their language and methodology, prevented many from seeing his grounding in classical metaphysics. However, the real meaning of his work is now gradually coming to light as one of the most important achievements of Christian thought of all times.

In From the Nature of the Mind to Personal Dignity, Juan F. Franck maintains that Rosmini contributes to personalist philosophy with a well-argued answer to the question of why the person possesses the highest dignity in the universe, joining the claim that man is the image of God with rational arguments alone. Although the topic was only tangential in the nineteenth century, Rosmini's works offer cogent proof of the excellence of personal beings. What Aristotle described as the light of the intellect—the lumen intellectuale for the Scholastics—is brought into play in the epistemological discussion not just to develop an innovative theory of knowledge, but also to account for the constitution of the human mind, as a foundation for ethical principles, and as the starting point of a more comprehensive ontology, where the person is given his due place.

Rosmini links one subject with another, respecting each field at the same time, with a stunning example of an encyclopedic way of thinking. Philosophers aiming at renovation in continuity will also find in him a vigorous model and an unprecedented challenge.


Juan F. Franck holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and currently occupies a research position at the Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires.


"Antonio Rosmini is one of the undiscovered jewels of 19th Century Catholic intellectual life. Juan Franck's book brings to life Rosmini's tremendous philosophical contributions to serious reflection about key issues at the root of contemporary philosophical debate, ranging from the nature of human dignity to the ability of the mind to apprehend truth. The product of thorough research, this book will be an asset to students and scholars of philosophy for years to come."—Samuel Gregg, Acton Institute

"With growing interest in Rosmini, the foundations of ethics, and the ethical stature of the human being, Franck's contribution to the subject is timely and significant."—G. Royden Hunt, Cardiff University

"This book is to be welcomed as a clear and illuminating account of the central teaching of a neglected philosopher. But more than that, in bravely confronting metaphysical questions that are frequently ignored, Franck points to the way debate about the ultimate nature of human rights can be both widened and deepened." — Alexander Lucie-Smith, Heythrop Journal

"It is impossible in a review of this sort to represent the rich subtlety of Rosmini's metaphysics which Franck so ably exploits in his meditations." — William A. Frank, ACPQ

"Anyone looking for a clear and thoughtful study of Antonio Rosmini's philosophy will welcome the publication of this most ambitious yet concise study of the great Italian philosopher-theologian. The title of the work, as well as its length, belie its breadth and scope, which encompasses the entire sweep of Rosmini's systematic philosophical vision. . . . I can highly recommend Franck's study to anyone looking for a helpful and sympathetic guide to the thought of this most original but neglected of 19th century philosophers." — Giuseppe Butera, Review of Metaphysics

The Catholic University of America Press

9780813214382 : from-the-nature-of-the-mind-to-personal-dignity-franck
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