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Sebastiano Franci: a forgotten philosopher, enlightener and feminist


Rother, Wolfgang (2023). Sebastiano Franci: a forgotten philosopher, enlightener and feminist. Journal of Italian Philosophy, 6:28-43.

Abstract

Sebastiano Franci (1715–1772), who belonged to the circle around Pietro Verri and to the authors of the Milanese journal ‘Il Caffè’, is one of the forgotten Enlightenment thinkers. He was influenced by the Physiocrats and put forward proposals for agricultural reform. As an alternative to the bloody war of expansion fought with weapons, he pleaded for a ‘war of industry’ to defeat humanity’s worst enemy, poverty, and to promote general prosperity, ‘public happiness’, which for him was the central purpose of the state. Neither luxury nor trade were morally reprehensible, he said, because they precisely served this purpose. Trade, he argued, connected people, had a peacemaking function, and made people citizens of the world. On all these points, he was not a pioneer, but he was undoubtedly a typical enlightener whose ideas were inspired by the European Enlightenment. But as the author of the ‘Difesa delle donne’ he is – and this is his lasting merit – one of the early feminist thinkers.

Abstract

Sebastiano Franci (1715–1772), who belonged to the circle around Pietro Verri and to the authors of the Milanese journal ‘Il Caffè’, is one of the forgotten Enlightenment thinkers. He was influenced by the Physiocrats and put forward proposals for agricultural reform. As an alternative to the bloody war of expansion fought with weapons, he pleaded for a ‘war of industry’ to defeat humanity’s worst enemy, poverty, and to promote general prosperity, ‘public happiness’, which for him was the central purpose of the state. Neither luxury nor trade were morally reprehensible, he said, because they precisely served this purpose. Trade, he argued, connected people, had a peacemaking function, and made people citizens of the world. On all these points, he was not a pioneer, but he was undoubtedly a typical enlightener whose ideas were inspired by the European Enlightenment. But as the author of the ‘Difesa delle donne’ he is – and this is his lasting merit – one of the early feminist thinkers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:17 May 2023
Deposited On:01 Jun 2023 15:21
Last Modified:12 Jun 2023 00:50
Publisher:University of Newcastle upon Tyne
ISSN:2515-6039
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://research.ncl.ac.uk/italianphilosophy/currentissue/4.%20Wolfgang%20Rother%20-%20Sebastiano%20Franci%20-%20FINAL.pdf
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English