Banfi, Antonio

   Banfi has been one of the most influential thinkers of this century within the Italian academy. A philosopher of science who increasingly turned his attention to social theory, his thought departs from the central discovery of “modern” (i.e., post-Galileo) astronomy: that humanity is not the center of the universe or the reason for its existence. In his most famous book, L’uomo copernicano (Copernican Man, 1950), Banfi argues that this fact compels humankind to resolve the human dilemma by using our faculty of “critical reason” (instead of blind faith in man’s metaphysical destiny) to create a free and progressive regime on earth. After 1945, Banfi increasingly identified “critical reason” with Marxism, which he seemingly regarded as a master science that superseded all other forms of social explanation. Banfi was also the author of a number of works on the life and thought of Galileo Galilei and many works on pedagogy. Between 1940 and 1949, he edited the groundbreaking academic review Studi filosofici (Philosophical Studies). In 1957, he died in his native Milan, where he had taught throughout his career.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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