The General Histories of Philosophy in Italy in the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Century
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“We must confess that in this Synopsis Historiae philosophicae the Author has accumulated with great industry, from innumerable books, those things which by their very variety can delight the reader, and with his labour has offered such a magnificent service to his fellow Italians, among whom the study of the history of Philosophy is seen to stagnate, that the hope arises in us that with his example he will stir many of his fellow citizens to cultivate this field” (AE, 1730, p. 221). With these words Heumann greeted the publication of the work by G.B. Capasso and simultaneously lamented the absence of a tradition of studies on the history of philosophy in Italy. An analogous comment was to be made in the second half of the eighteenth century by Father Appiano Buonafede (Agatopisto Cromaziano) in the preface to his history of philosophy, where he notes that “Italy is almost bereft of historians of philosophy. Luigi Pesaro, Leonardo Cozzando, Giambattista Capasso, Odoardo Corsini, and Antonio Genovesi have given us some essays on this subject, but they had no thought of writing an entire history, with the exception of Capasso” (Della istoria e della indole d’ogni filosofia, Venice, 1782 [1st ed.: 1766], I, pp. xxxvii–xxxviii).