Avvocato Gerardo Marotta (Naples April 26, 1927 – January 25, 2017): in memoriam

Abstract

This paper summarizes life and works of Avvocato Gerardo Marotta (1927-2017), Founder and President of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies from 1975 until his death. He obtained cum laude the Degree in Law discussing a thesis on “The Concept of State in Classical German Philosophy and Hegelian Left”. He was a follower of the Italian Institute for Historical Studies founded by the Philosopher Benedetto Croce. He was a fellow of the Gramsci Group of Naples and a founder of the Association New Culture. He and his young colleagues were very appreciated by the leaders of the Communist Party, however they could not be regimented and were expelled in 1954. Later Marotta was for 20 years a successful lawyer with great expertise in Administrative Law. Finally, he created  the Italian Institute of Philosophical Studies and drove it to international appreciation. The list of Marotta’s Honors is impressive. He collected more than 300,000 books and journals devoted to Philosophy and History which will finally be utilized in a specific library funded by the Campania Region. He is known as the last Jacobin (as per his own definition), has been defined L’Homme des Lumières by Jacques Derrida. He supported Nephrology for a series of programs of vast culture, such as: i. the birth of the International Association for the History of Nephrology (1993), ii. the Appeal for Clinical Research (1997), iii. Survival is not Enough (2007 to present) and iiii. the International Conference on the Human Capital of Age (2016).

Key words: Gerardo Marotta, Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, History of Nephrology, Appeal for Clinical Research, Survival is Not Enough, The Human Capital of Age

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Introduction

On January 25 2017 Avvocato Gerardo Marotta (Figure 1), Gold Medal for the Meritorious of Culture, died in Naples at the age of almost 90 years. He was the Founder and President of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, an institution which cares for Philosophy in Europe and beyond and is Gold Medal of the European Parliament.

We honor him for founding the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies and for the many achievements which will be presented below, as well as for his interest and support to various nephrological initiatives, namely: i. the birth of the International Association for the History of Nephrology (1993), ii. the Appeal for Clinical Research (1997), iii. Survival is not Enough (2007 to present) and iiii. the International Conference on the Human Capital of Age (2016).

 

Gerardo Marotta: his life

Gerardo Marotta, the last descendant of the Dukes of Sicily, was born in Naples on April 26, 1927. He studied Law at the University Federico II and obtained the Laurea cum laude with a thesis on the “Concept of State in Classical German Philosophy and the Hegelian Left”.

He nurtured his interests in law and philosophy, as well as in history, literature and all the arts. He was among the young scientists who were fostered at the Italian Institute for Historical Studies founded by Benedetto Croce at the Study Group Antonio Gramsci. He was the founder and the soul of the Association New Culture, which in the years 1946-1953 organized conferences and seminars to give cultural grounds to the rebirth of Italy following the catastrophe of World War II. To those events many illustrious personalities (artists, literates, philosophers, scientists and jurists) gave their support and voice. Among them were Antonio Banfi, Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Roberto Pane, Natalino Sapegno, Vasco Pratolini, Domenico Rea, Luigi Incoronato, Vittorio Viviani, Nicolas Guillen, Dario Puccini and other poets and writers. In those days Marotta promoted exhibitions of painters and sculptors, including a great show of Renato Guttuso and one of Augusto Perez and a series of conferences on Music and Arts started with a conference of Massimo Mila on “Music and arts” at the Conservatorium of Naples.

He married in 1960 Emilia Mancuso, a talented bright lady, very learned in modern art. She was the sister of Sara Mancuso Caccioppoli, the wife of the great mathematician Renato Caccioppoli (1904-1959), the nephew of Maria Bakunin, (1873-1960) the daughter of Mikhail Bakunin. So, two extraordinary citizens of Naples had many reasons to meet and to discuss. Emilia and Gerardo had three children: Valeria, Massimiliano and Barbara who survive them. Massimiliano revived the Società di Studi Politici founded by Benedetto Croce, and he still directs it. Emilia Mancuso Marotta died in 2006. After the death of Gerardo Marotta, Massimiliano was elected President of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies.

At the beginning of the Fifties, Gerardo Marotta was instrumental in organizing the Seminar for Juristic Studies (started by Vezio Crisafulli), the Seminar for Biological Studies (established by Giuseppe Montalenti), the Seminar for Architecture (created by Luigi Piccinato), the Seminar for Historical Studies Antonio Gramsci directed by Guido Piegari, Nino Cortese, Domenico De Marco and Giuseppe Palomba. There were also seminars on the Neapolitan Revolution in 1799, the Italian Resurgence and The Southern Question, the Years of Giolitti and on various problems of history and historiography.

The activity of the Gramsci Group and of the Association New Culture was very much appreciated by some of the leading people of the Italian Communist Party. However the young intellectuals were difficult to regiment. The conflict was inevitable and in 1954 the group was expelled from the party. There are responsibilities for this, the main characters have great names. Books have been written on that event.

At this point Marotta devoted himself to the profession. He organized a law firm of lawyers experts in administrative law with many talents for “eminent domain”. They were successful. The office was busy of clients. They made money, which Marotta utilized to start and grow his library of more than 300,000 books on philosophy, and history, including journals of philosophy.

On May 27 1975 at the National Academy of Lincei (Lynx Academy) in Rome, Gerardo Marotta, Enrico Cerulli (President of the National Academy of Lincei), Elena Croce, Pietro Piovani and Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli founded the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies (IISF, its Italian abbreviation). In the constitution Gerardo Marotta was nominated the Life-President.

Gerardo Marotta in starting the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies made reference to his experience in the Association New Culture. He gave all personal resources to the new institution and in a few years turned it into a prestigious international Center for Research.

On March 31 1980 Gerardo Marotta, rejuvenating the spirit of the old Neapolitan Academies and of the Neapolitan Enlightenment, established the School for Higher Studies in Naples. In 1981 Marotta founded the Journal “Nouvelles de la République des Lettres”. Directors were Paul Dibon and Tullio Gregory. Among the promoters were: J. F. Battail, G. Costa, G. Erikson, L. Firpo, E. Garin, H. Gouhier, R. Hahn, A. Jammes, P. O. Kristeller, J.C. Margolin, H.J. Martin, P. Raab, J. B. Trap, R. Töllner, I. R. Willison.

Strong links of scientific collaboration were established with the Universities of Padua, Turin, Genoa, Urbino, the National Academy of Lincei, The National Institute for Renaissance, the Academy of Science in Turin, and at international level with the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, the Warburg Institute of London, the CERN in Geneva, the Universities of Hamburg, Tübingen, Sorbonne in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Valladolid, with the Landau Institute in Moscow, and many other foreign institutions. This conferred prestige to the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, which received international recognition on June 22 1993 during the Séance of the European Parliament. There a delegation of IISF, composed of philosophers and scientists from every part of the world, presented The Appeal for Philosophy and the Appeal for Humanistic Research. They were co-signed by Hans-George Gadamer (1900-2002), ​Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003), Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005), and Paul Oskar Kristeller (1905-1999). The appeals were adopted by the European Parliament. In that occasion after the speech of President Egon Klepsch, Prof. Antonio la Pergola, Emeritus President of the Italian Constitutional Court, gave a talk to illustrate the activity of the Institute from which we quote:

“The double appeal of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies is linked to the roots of the common European Conscience. Our Parliament is asked to meet the needs of the civil society. This is an authoritative message from the world of culture. We cannot neglect it. The Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies understands the reasons why the new generation, the future directing class needs to be educated to a creative thinking, to philosophy, to capacity of judgment. Thus we take the responsibility to promote a rebirth of Humanism which might bring new life in every branch of science and to drive growth. Man turns into imago Dei (God’s image), to the sense of universe, when he discovers the perennial value of his liberty and dignity, of his right to govern life and to impress, as in the happy days of our history, the mark of his work on history. The Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies has given the first impulse to the mobilization of men of culture to revisit Humanism. It is a program of broad breathing. Its realization will occur through school, and is under the care of the public opinion, to the value deserved by great proposal which needs to grow even here in Strasbourg and in the other European Institutions. The appeals add to the notion of Europe which starts to unify in areas different from market and economy. The Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies re-fired in the city a focal of the interest to the spreading of the thought, to reflection on topics which are central and cannot be escaped. This activity receives support and admiration of all countries, it is at the service of a Weltanschauung which is also wisdom of politics… For this, as President of the Commission for Culture, I express appreciation for the initiative of the Neapolitan Institute. Its Appeal traces a main route based on a more mature Europeism”.

 

Gerardo Marotta: Honors

  • Dr Honoris Causa in Philosophy at the University of Bielefeld, Germany (February 8, 1988).
  • Dr Honoris Causa in Philosophy at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (November 8, 1988).
  • Dr Honoris Causa in Education at the University of Urbino, Italy (November 1988).
  • Diploma of Honor of the European Parliament for his activity in favor of European Culture (1994).
  • Prize of Illustrious Neapolitans from the Prix Naples Foundation (December 3, 1994).
  • Silver Bowl of Friendship from the Cultural Centre St. Vincent “for his role in promoting in Southern Italy the broadest cultural initiative of the Country: that consists in the creation in Italy and in the Whole South of the summer schools and the Courses for Advanced Training” (December 3, 1994).
  • The Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies was awarded the Prix International pour la paix Jacques Muhlethaler for the activity in favor of peace between individuals and people, at the University of Rome, Italy (May 18, 1995).
  • Dr Honoris Causa in Philosophy at the University of Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle (June 24, 1996).
  • Dr Honoris Causa in Architecture at the Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli (July 10, 1997).
  • Prize Artigiani della Pace (Turin, June 10, 1997).
  • Premio Capo Circeo from Vereinigung für Deutsch-Italienische Freundschaft (Capo Circeo, December 11, 1997).
  • Prix Mecenate dell’Associazione Amici della Scala di Milano “for the foundation of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, School for Higher Studies in Naples, for his work and the resources granted in envisaging and directing its national and international work for Research, Teaching, Exhibitions and Publications and for his generous activity in promoting and producing culture, since his young age” (October 23, 1999).
  • International Prix “Naples Inclusive City” from the International Association of Catholic Apostolate, for “his noble tireless activity guided by exemplary wisdom in support of the culture which belongs to the historic patrimony of the City of Naples” (December 20, 1999).
  • Medal Peter the Great from The Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (February 23, 2000).
  • Prix “Universum” for exceptional merits in the field of philosophy (October 15, 2000).
  • Dr Honoris Causa in Philosophy at the University of Pavia (October 25, 2000).
  • Dr Honoris Causa in Philosophy at the University of Bucarest (October 26, 2000).
  • Prix Gold Lemon (March 2001).
  • Die Goethe Medaille (March 23, 2001).
  • Mediterranean Award “Culture”, Fondazione Mediterraneo (January 2002).
  • Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur of French Republic (June 2003).
  • Honorary Member of the Institute for Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, September 2010).

 

A message of Hans-George Gadamer and others

The messages of the greater philosopher of today, Hans George Gadamer (Figure 2), accompany the activity of the Institute throughout the world, and the great messages to the European Parliament of our delegation in the years 1991 and in 1993, attest the prestige of the Institution on which Gadamer expressed his opinion:

“I am happy to affirm the great Heredity of this city is now in good hands. It is a merit of the Italian Institute to have started this initiative. In fact, the restart of philosophy promoted by the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies is known worldwide. It will honor the great Neapolitan tradition if it will be capable to keep living the heredity and the great European Thought and to build upon these premises new forms of thought and life. This allows us to think that Europe will be capable to survive the menace of our times. I do hope that the Institute will represent a model for Europe in order to avoid the bureaucratization of the Studies. Without initiatives of this kind, culture is lost since the bureaucratization of the studies, which is the fellow companion of the industry of our times, turns culture into stones and works against creativity as well as against human relationships”.

The scientists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have declared that the “Italian Institute for Philosophical studies is a unique institution not only for its service to culture but also for keeping high the flag of philosophy in a world obsessed by materialism and trivial interests. The initiative of the Italian Institute has taken for philosophy contributes to the survival to what is dear to us of the world of thought and culture. We share the willingness of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies to create a new cadre of investigators capable to take on their shoulders the cultural heritage of the great European philosophical tradition which is nowadays under pressure from many sites”.

sB. Smith, Professor at The Warburg Institute in London, in a paper discussed the international role of the Institute and included it among the most important centers of the present cultural Europe along with the Warburg Institute and the Institut pour la Recherche et l’Histoire des Textes of Paris. Paul Oskar Kristeller underlined the importance of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies for the world culture and remarked that the School for Higher Studies in Naples founded by Avvocato Gerardo Marotta has, with its peculiar characteristics, a place for itself in the tendency in Europe and USA to organize centers for research devoted not only to natural sciences and mathematics, but also to philosophical, historical and philological sciences, as it happened with the Institute for Advanced Studies of Princeton, the Mellon Foundation, the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. He felicitated the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies for the capability to emerge as a significant institution for the world contemporary culture, for its huge number of fellows and for focusing its activity on fields neglected by other universities and institutions. In fact, it covers history of philosophy and the history of ideas from the antiquity to present.

 

Paul Dibon on the Institute

Paul Dibon (1915-1995) of the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris commented: “In the course of my long academic career I had the honor and the privilege to teach for many years in many countries and to cumulate a series of different and fertile experiences. I can affirm that the meetings I had on the history of ideas in the 17th century at the School for Higher Studies in April will remain as an original, promising experience. It confirms the confidence already expressed on the future of this Neapolitan Institution, at the time of the Opening Ceremony in the Hall Giovambattista Vico, in May 1980 [… ] in the course of the sessions at the Higher School another comparison was possible. It concerned the fellows who originating in various fields were attracted by common intellectual interests. I have had personal talks with some of them, who, coming from northern regions, discovered in Naples a specificity of its daily life as well as of its rich cultural tradition”.

Théodore F. Geraets, Dean of the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy at the University of Ottawa, has written in the issue no. 4 (1981) of the Annali della Pubblica Istruzione, “the importance of the initiative started in Naples by Avvocato Marotta is inimitable and with difficulty could be understood in its entireness”. Henri Gouhier, Academician of France, in 1986 dedicated to Avvocato Gerardo Marotta the book on Blaise Pascal. Karl Heinz Ilting (1925-1984) dedicated to Marotta the edition of the Unpublished Berlinese Works of Hegel on Philosophy of Religion by writing “To Gerardo Marotta and to the Hegelians of Naples”. Vittorio Hösle dedicated to Gerardo Marotta his volume Verità e storia.

The Institute now is the centre of a dense network with the most important centers of research like the Warburg Institute in London and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, the Hegel Archive in Bochum, and many European and American Universities. The seminars of the Institute, many of them are organized abroad, attract researchers from Italy and from abroad.

The international recognition stimulates the efforts of the Institute to renovate modern culture and the rebirth of civil life in Naples and in Southern Italy.

 

A word of Reinhart Koselleck

“What characterizes the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies founded by Gerardo Marotta is not only the reference to a tradition which from Vico to Croce is linked to the genius loci, but its capacity to irradiate its impulses in all fields of knowledge and towards the other countries of the world. I do not know of any other scientific institution capable to impress a so deep mark in the culture of the whole Europe as it happened with the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies”. With these words, on February 6, 1988 Reinhart Koselleck (1923-2006) gave the reasons of the Laurea Honoris Causa the University of Bielefeld conferred to Gerardo Marotta to consecrate the European and International meaning of the Institute he has founded, directed and animated.

 

Laurea Honoris Causa at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and at the University of Bielefeld

In the same year another Laurea honoris Causa in Philosophy was conferred to Gerardo Marotta at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam in a solemn ceremony with motivations identical to those of the illustrious German historian:

“In the person of Gerardo Marotta, the Universities of Bielefeld and Rotterdam have honored a scientific institution and a center of high culture which emerged and attracted the interest of the world for its intense and prestigious activity, his personal work, his passion for the Institute that he envisaged, and realized with personal energy and resources”.

In the Laudatio we read:

“Avvocato Gerardo Marotta – as motivated by Hans George Gadamer – is a meritorious and noteworthy personality I know. I am unable to indicate another professional of the law of the same value in his efforts towards a true culture and for philosophy. He has devoted to it great personal efforts and with a marvelous energy has created the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies which is worthy of the great name of Benedetto Croce [ …] I, myself, for more than 10 years have taken part to these efforts and I can say that I have not found in any other part of the world a group of participants informed and active like that I meet at the Institute in Naples”. “Avvocato Gerardo Marotta is the soul although a very confident man. It is evident that he is driven by the love for the country and for the public good. And I have had the possibility to appreciate that this attitude is shared by many intellectuals and young people. The antique tradition which goes back to Vico survives […]. Without any doubt Gerardo Marotta is a great promoter of philosophical and scientific studies”.

The recognition for the Institute was not only international but also national. In 1988 Gerardo Marotta received the gold medal from the President of the Italian Republic for his cultural merits.

In 1988, the President of the Council of Ministers conferred the Prize for Culture to the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies.

 

The Silver Cup of Friendship from the Cultural Centre Saint Vincent

On December 3, 1994 the Cultural Centre Saint Vincent conferred to Avvocato Gerardo Marotta the Silver Cup of Friendship with the following motivation:

“In agreement with the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta and the National Order of Journalists, in occasion of the Information Day which took place at Saint Vincent on December 3-4 1994, has conferred to Avvocato Gerardo Marotta, President of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies of Naples, the Golden Cup of Friendship for the organization in Southern Italy the broadest and most relevant cultural initiative promoted in Italy in recent years. Tens of seminars have been organized in small towns once centers of attraction for philosophy to which have given their contribution authoritative scientists. The goal was to wake the cultural and historical memory of a thought that gave to Southern Italy a peculiar identity, a memory which can represent a powerful lever for its civil rebirth. Of this relaunch, Avvocato Gerardo Marotta is the most qualified and passionate protagonist”.

 

The Capo Circeo Prize

On December 13 1997 the Vereinigung für Deutsche-Italienish Freundschaft conferred to Avvocato Gerardo Marotta the Prize Capo Circeo with the following motivation:

“The undersigned mayors of Southern Municipalities in association with those of Abruzzo, Naples, Bergamo declare solidarity to the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies: “His great polyhedral personality, enriched by a charge of civil passion, which early in his life let him participate in many social and political battles, has now reached a universal meaning, having used all his energy and economical resources to the foundation and development of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, which has now reached levels of world excellence. We cannot forget his efforts to publish the Hegelian texts in their original form, as world premiere, and his priority as patron in helping so many teachers and fellows who with passion were with him. The activities of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies have represented the industrial flywheel for new publishing houses from Naples to Milan, thus contributing to the diffusion of science and culture. Together with Gerardo Marotta the Prize Capo Circeo was also attributed to the Philosopher Hans George Gadamer, the German Minister for Interior Affairs M. Kanther, the State Secretary for economy of the Government of Bavaria H.G. Spitzner, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs W. Hoyer, and the Germanist Carlo Volpi”.

In previous editions the Prize Capo Circeo was granted to The Chancellor Helmut Kohl, to the Politologist Sir Ralf Dahrendorf, Ernst Jünger, Augusto Del Noce, Renzo de Felice, the Historian Jeans Petersen, Joachim Fest, Ernst Nolte, W. Sawallish, Claudio Abbado, G.G. Gensher, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Klaus Kinkel, Alfred Herrhausen President of the Deutsch Bank, F.J. Strauss President of Bavaria, The Mayor of Berlin Eberhard Diepgen, the Germanist Marino Freschi, Angelo Bolaffi, and the German Archeologist Bernard Andreae.

 

Honorary Citizenships 1993-1996

Many municipalities in Southern Italy – among which are Agropoli, Bomba, Brienza, Castelnuovo Cilento, Cesa, Diamante, Gioi Cilento, Melfi, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Somma Vesuviana, Vatolla-Perdifumo, have bestowed to Gerardo Marotta the Honorary Citizenship for his cultural and civil effort which inspired him to give birth to hundreds of courses of Higher Formation, meetings, historical and didactic exhibitions, in every place in Southern Italy to wake up the historical memory and the hectic-civil conscience.

Two hundred Mayors and Municipalities in Southern Italy addressed the President of the Italian Republic on occasion of the first centenary of the death of Silvio Spaventa (1893) an appeal where we can also read:

“The undersigned Mayors of the Municipalities of Southern Italy, in association with those of Abruzzo, Naples and Bergamo declare their solidarity to the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies in order to continue the work to keep alive the historical memory in Southern Italy and to reaffirm that the unity of the Italian People and the unity of the State are indispensable for the building of the United States of Europe, since the European conscience of the state must deepen the roots in the conscience of the state of each country (… ). Mr. President of the Republic, we are proud that the appeal for Philosophy and humanistic research of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies departed from Naples to the European Parliament and to the United Nation Organization, and that Naples and Southern Italy have received full recognition from the highest international institutions”.

On June 22 1993 in the European Parliament a delegation of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies was received by the President of European Parliament Hon. Professor Egon Alfred Klepsch and by the President of the Cultural Commission of the European Parliament.

 

Historical and Didactic Exhibitions in the municipalities of Southern Italy in the years 1982-1997

In the document of the Mayors of Southern Italy we read:

“It is an indisputable merit of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies to have rejuvenated with new and appropriate studies, with tens and tens of historical and didactical exhibitions, through seminars and meetings on the “Neapolitan Republic of 1799”, Gaetano Filangieri, the state according to reason, Francesco De Sanctis, documents for an intellectual biography, The Hegelians of Naples, The Building of the United States, Silvio Spaventa politician and statist of the unified Italy. This occurred with the support of the patriotism of reason, and the awareness that in Southern Italy exist great values and enlightening traditions of the National Resurgence and of the United States”.

Hundreds of municipalities hosted the historical and didactic exhibitions. The long list includes: Acri, Afragola, Agropoli, Altamura, Agnone, Ariano Irpino, Atripalda, Avella, Avellino, Avigliano, Barano d’Ischia, Brienza, Campobasso, Camposano, Castellaneta, Diamante, Eboli, Ercolano, Fasano, Foggia, Forio d’Ischia, Frattamaggiore, Grumo Nevano, Ischia Ponte, Isernia, Lagopesole, Laureana Cilento, Lauro, Manduria, Massa Lubrense, Matera, Mattinata, Nocera Inferiore, Nola, Ortodonico, Pescocostanzo, Pignola, Pomigliano d’Arco, Ponticelli, Portici, Procida, Salerno, San Gennaro Vesuviano, San Giorgio a Cremano, Sarno, Sava, Scafati, Somma Vesuviana, Sorrento, Soveria Mannelli, Taranto, Terranova di Pollino, Torre del Greco, Trani, Tricarico, Vairano Scalo, Vatolla, Vico Equense.

Many Italian and European cities hosted historical and didactical exhibitions on philosophical traditions of Southern Italy: Turin, Bergamo, Rome, Venice, Paris, Lille, Kassel, Trier, Bielefeld, Geneva and Strasbourg.

In 1997 The Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies awarded 1250 scholarships, organized 1350 seminars, conferred 442 research scholarships, and published 135 books.

 

Schools and Institutions for Higher Learning of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies in Italy and abroad

  1. Schools for Higher Learning in 543 municipalities of Southern Italy where the Institute organized thousands of seminars and contributed to the institution and development of 237 libraries;
  2. The International Institute of Higher Scientific Studies founded in 1980 at Palazzo Serra di Cassano that organized congresses at CERN in Geneva and throughout Europe and in its permanent headquarters in Vietri sul Mare;
  3. Schools for Higher Learning in Biology and Cybernetics directed by Cloe Taddei Ferretti with the participation of many scientists and the publication of a volume with preface of the Nobel Prize Ilya Prigogine. The book contained many favorable opinions of scientists belonging to the international community as it is evident in the monograph Le Scuole Internazionali di Biofisica e Biocibernetica dell’Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici/The International Schools for Biophysics and Biocybernetics of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies;
  4. The Annual Schools for Higher Learning in collaboration with the Warburg Institute in London supported by the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies with annual scholarships for meritorious students and investigators;
  5. The School of Heidelberg founded in the year 2000, launched by Hans-George Gadamer, and organized directly by the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies. This school represents Italian culture and is indispensable for cultural collaboration between different countries;
  6. Schools for Higher Learning with the Program Diffiety School in the Municipality of Santo Stefano del Sole. Subsequently the Institute founded, in collaboration with the same Municipality, the International Foundation Tullio Levi-Civita. Professor Alexandre Vinogradov, a Member of the Academy of Science in Moscow and Professor at the University of Salerno, was nominated Director. The International Institute Tullio Levi-Civita hosts investigators from all over the world. Its academic year is celebrated annually in Naples at Palazzo Serra di Cassano. The courses take place in various locations in Southern Italy with the participation of professors and investigators from various continents.

 

The Assize of the City of Naples and Southern Italy

At the beginning of the nineties of last century Antonio Iannello, Secretary of Italia Nostra, Alda Croce, President of the Library Benedetto Croce, and Gerardo Marotta, created the “Assise della Città di Napoli e del Mezzogiorno d’Italia”. It was a public assembly which met every Saturday morning and debated cultural, political, economical problems of the Neapolitan area under the presidency of Aldo Masullo, Professor of Moral Philosophy. Among the topics discussed over the years were the “rebuilding after the quake of November 23, 1980”, “Water as public good“ (against its privatization), the “depollution of the Gulf of Naples after the closure of the still mill”.

 

The Library of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies

Marotta assembled a library of Philosophy, including journals and manuscripts of classical German Philosophy and from the Hegelians from Naples. The books, more than 300.000, are currently stored in various depositories. After Marotta’s death interest has grown to build a library for them not far from the Institute financed by the Government of Regione Campania. The library was the long-lasting problem for Avvocato Marotta, till his death. He was promised a lot but at the end no one helped.

 

Who was Gerardo Marotta?

This question was nicely answered recently by Francesco Barbagallo, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary History at the University Federico II of Naples. He gave the inaugural address for the Academic Year 2017-2018 of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies. The address was entitled “Gerardo Marotta. A European Patriot” (1).

Barbagallo writes:

“Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Italian Republic during a visit to the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies on September 9, 1999 said <we all shall applaud to his learned madness, provident madness, in the sense that his passion, the enthusiasm he used in furthering life of this Institute. Behind his passion there is the pride to claim all that Naples means for the history of Europe, the history of Italy, Naples that in its culture finds the roots of its strength and of its future>” (2).

Barbagallo also recounted that “Marotta organized in Saint Petersburg an international conference on L’Homme des Lumières. Thus, on the occasion of the awarding of a Laurea Honoris Causa at the University Paris III- Sorbonne-Nouvelle in 1996 Jacques Derrida said <I think that he is L’Homme des Lumières. Should someone ask me abruptly which is the model for l’homme des Lumières 1996 I might not find a better identification>” (3).

On commenting the foundation of the Institute, Barbagallo gives the word to Antonio Gargano who was with Marotta since the beginning and helped him until his death for forty years (1). Gargano says:

The foundation of the Institute was born by a consideration shared with Husserl of a “crisis of European Humankind” […] The spiritual image of Europe entails a perspective which is valid for the whole humankind however one must come back and revive her which is to revive the great philosophical schools. This ambition presided the birth of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies”.

The concluding lines of Barbagallo are about the nomination of Marotta as Senator for life: “It remains incomprehensible the failure to appoint him as senator for life, [Marotta] the Italian who would have deserved it more” (1).

 

Gerardo Marotta and his interest in Nephrology

The Origins of the International Association for the History of Nephrology

Marotta was an honorary member of the International Association for the History of Nephrology (IAHN). He was the main actor in organizing the first International Meeting on History of Nephrology which was organized in Naples and Montecassino in 1993 (see the website of IAHN at iahn.info). The American Journal of Nephrology in 1994 reported (5) On the Future of the History of Nephrology. The conference on the History of Nephrology was held in Naples on 28-30 October 1993 under the sponsorship of the Seconda Università di Napoli, Baylor College of Medicine and the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies. These Institutions were represented by Domenico Mancino, W. T. Butler, and Gerardo Marotta, respectively (5).

Marotta was pleased of the honorary membership awarded to him at the closing of the fourth Congress in Montecassino organized by Luigi Iorio.

 

The Appeal for Clinical Research

On September 15-17 1997 an International Conference on Human Clinical research: Ethics and economics was held in Naples, at the Palazzo Serra di Cassano. It was supported by the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies and co-chaired by Natale G De Santo and Garabed Eknoyan. That Conference promoted the Appeal for Clinical Research (6-8).

The Appeal reads (7):

“Health care has improved markedly over the past five decades, in large measure because of advance made in patient-directed clinical research. The study of the whole human being which has proceeded extremely fruitfully heretofore, is now threatened by its own success by the advent of technological developments from studies in molecular biology. The profound shift over the past decades from patient-oriented clinical research to research at the cellular and molecular level has not only created new ethic and religious dilemmas, but just as importantly has caused a shift of financial support to the more expedient studies at cellular level. As a result, the study of the whole human being is languishing at a time that this kind of research is absolutely essential in furthering human health and transferring laboratory strategy to the clinical arena.

While the new technologies can be relied upon to provide basic solutions, patient-oriented clinical research is essential – now more than in the past – in order to translate the advances in molecular biology into the practical and functional terms applicable to the whole human physiology and metabolism to attain a better understanding of human biology, to improve the cure of human illnesses, and to deliver a better health to all mankind. It is fair to say that if both modes of research-molecular and clinical-are to prosper in the future, as they must, the patient-oriented research must receive stronger institutional and governmental support to do research and to provide answers to the ethical and moral problems raised by advancing frontiers of cellular research.

We appeal to all concerned and responsible public, private and governmental authorities to lend their support to this initiative”.

The Appeal was signed by Gerardo Marotta, Lawrence K Altmann, E. H. Ahrens, Donald Seldin, Garabed Eknoyan, Natale G De Santo, Anita Aperia, Ruth Ellen Bulger, Curtis Meinert, Ruth Faden, Lewis Wolpert, Dietrich von Engelhardt, Gȕnther Stock, Mario Condorelli, Klaus Hierholzer, Miroslav Mydlik, Antonio Spagnuolo, Goffredo Sciaudone, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Giovambattista Capasso, Massimo Cirillo, Domenico Mancino, Dimitri Nenov, Boleslaw Rutkowski, L.W. Henderson, and Walter Hörl +5,000.

 

Survival is Not Enough

Survival Is Not Enough is the annual international event of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies and the Second University of Naples. It started in 2007 in Naples, following a suggestion of Rosa Maria De Santo to Professor Antonio Gargano, General Secretary of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies (IISF). The event was approved in January 2007 at the Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Institute and has been organized annually from 2007 to present around the “World Kidney Day”. The aim is to discuss the needs of patients with chronic kidney disease (8, 9) and the possibility to ameliorate the quality of a machine-dependent life. The events are held in different sites with an identical format. Renal patients and their associations, philosophers, economists, nephrologists, renal transplant surgeons, expert in bioethics, and health care managers, teachers and principals of primary and secondary schools, university students are invited to discuss the possibility to grant the best cures and care to patients treated with dialysis, a technique that provides a “Life with many losses and various dependencies”. Losses include even the possibility of selecting foods and beverages, playing sports, undertaking a demanding job, having a refreshing sleep, properly expressing one’s own feelings, fulfilling the responsibilities toward the family, having an orgasm and menstruations. Dependencies are linked to the place one lives, physicians, dialysis staff, dialysis machines, dialysis shift, and dialysis calendar (10). Marotta maximally supported this event which according to him “linked philosophy with real life and confronts with the sufferer and the state organizations supporting good health in chronic disease”. He was there for the opening ceremony of that event which was co-chaired by Natale G De Santo, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Guido Bellinghieri.

Survival Is Not Enough has the ultimate aim to promote prevention and organ donation as the most reasonable and economically sound action for such global disaster. The presence of philosophers, as third parties, aims to give tutorial help to the needs of the sufferers who are no longer under the patronage of physicians who are now told by managers what, how much, and for how long they can prescribe to patients. Since 2008, Survival Is Not Enough has been extended also to the University of Foggia and later to the University of Bari by Loreto Gesualdo, to the University of Messina by Guido Bellinghieri and Vincenzo Savica (11), to Athens by Athanasios A. Diamandopoulos, to the University of Gaziantep by Ayse Balat, to the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice by Miroslav Mydlik and Katka Derzsiova.

From 2009 onward the event has been organized in many cities on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea including Naples, Bari, Benevento, Brindisi, Caserta, Catania, Palermo, Rende, Rome, Salerno, Trieste, Athens, Gaziantep, Patra, Koper, Tunis, Sfax, as well as in Central-Eastern Europe (Gdansk, Košice, Bucharest, Varna), and in Turkey at the University of Gaziantep and Istanbul, under the leadership of Ayse Balat. Leading nephrologists and managers with international reputation, as well as teachers, principals and primary, secondary schools and university students have participated in such events (12).

 

Outcomes

Various quests have arisen for (i). a new cadre of managers capable of keeping health accounts in balance without cutting expenditure but by reducing waste of resources; (ii). the promotion of prevention as the only measure capable of reducing costs in the long run; (iii). the promotion of clinical research by turning biomedical discoveries into treatments and cures; (iiii). the need of a 4P Medicine (predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory), as suggested by Leroy Hood, the founder of the Institute for System Biology in Seattle, WA; (v). the promotion of organ donation, being kidney transplantation the safest, cheapest procedure, and associated with the longest survival and best quality of life of the patients; (vi). the awareness of the risks connected with the emerging of the Medico-industrial Complex as discussed by Arnold S. Relman in New England Journal of Medicine in 1980; (vii). health systems based on patient’s needs. Aiming “to do different things and to do things differently, by putting the patient in the centre of the system and by wearing patient’s shoes”, as stressed by Fiona Godlee in the British Medical Journal in 2009.

 

Publications

Papers related to Survival Is Not Enough have been published in the Journal of Nephrology (9), Giornale Italiano di Nefrologia (11, 13), Seminars in Nephrology (10), the American Journal of Kidney Disease (14), the Journal of Renal Nutrition (15), and the Italian Journal of Public Health (16). Likewise, they have also appeared as selected annual proceedings (12 – 14) in the series “i testimoni del tempo / witnesses of the times”, a philosophical series published in Naples by Metis and the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies. It was founded and directed by the late Aniello Montano (1941-2015), Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Salerno, who published elegant monographs of appealing printing, size and binding.

 

Some presentations

Invited presentations were discussed at the 2nd Meeting of the International Federation of Kidney Foundation in Curitiba (Brazil) in 2007, the Celebration of the 50th Birthday of the Medical Faculty of the Šafárik University in Košice (Slovakia) in May 2009, the 2011 Nagoya Congress of the Society for Uremic Toxins, the 2012 Congress of the Tunisian Society of Nephrology in Sfax, the 2012 Congress of the Algerian Society of Nephrology in Algiers, at the 2015 Congress for Hippocratic Medicine in Athens, the 2016 Congress of the Hellenic College of Nephrology, in Portaria, and at the 2016 Congress of the Mediterranean Society of Nephrology in Cappadocia (Turkey).

 

The battle for organ donation

Following the advice of Professor Francesco Paolo Casavola, President Emeritus of the Constitutional Court and President of the National Committee of Bioethics in Italy, and of Gerardo Marotta, Survival is Not Enough has focused on finding a rational approach to prevent the opposition to organ donation after death, as well as on developing familial decisions in order to register in donors’ list while alive. A family decision might help in respecting the will to donate if and when death might supervene. We do now think that young people registering for organ donation should discuss the decision with the family, so that if donation becomes a possibility, everyone knows what to do. Thus, students are asked to campaign in their family for modernity and make the will for organ donation a family decision, since no one lives alone, and at the end the body of the deceased, after organ removal, is given back to the family. Since transplantation represents modernity, we suggest that its related laws should be reviewed frequently in order to benefit from all the advantages emerging from modernity.

Because transplantation saves lives, it costs less in comparison with other therapies, is innovative and provides excellent results, nephrologists should tell the patients, from the very beginning, that transplantation is the best option. Thus teaching organ donation to students of primary, middle and high schools is the cornerstone on which the program is built (12). The Italian Association of Organ Donors (AIDO) operating in the Campania Region and Survival Is Not Enough have joined forces and now diplomas are assigned to families of donors. The last time Marotta was present in Caserta was in 2014 (Figure 3). In that occasion he addressed more than six hundred students of the Lyceum Manzoni and explained them their triple duty (“to study a lot, to study a lot, to study a lot”). The last time Marotta was present in Naples was in March 2016 (Figure 4).

 

The Human Capital of Age

On September 15-16 2016 took place in Naples an International Conference promoted by The University of Naples Federico II, The Second University of Naples, The Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies and Organized by ARFACId. This was the last international Event to which Gerardo Marotta participated. Marotta did not have the time to see the proceedings Il Capitale Umano dell’età: La saggezza della vita (The human capital of age: the wisdom of life) with a preface of Professor Giuseppe Galasso (25) and The Human Capital of Age (2, 27). However he was pleased to learn about its main outcome represented by the founding of the European Association for Professors Emeriti.

 

Final comments on Gerardo Marotta: the Man and his Action

Nuccio Ordine, Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Calabria at Rende, Italy, on the death of Gerardo Marotta, wrote a significant comment on the Man and on his Action (28).

“Europe of Culture lost its fiercest “Avvocato”/(Lawyer). Gerardo Marotta, fighting with all of his strength for more than fifty years, protected teaching, scientific research and any form of culture capable of educating the younger generation in human solidarity and love for the common good. For decades in the amphitheatres of the Sorbonne, or in the halls of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, at the Warburg Library in London, in the corridors of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, at Die Freie Universität in Berlin and in the various offices of Italian Cultural Institutes, it was enough to mention “the Avvocato” to think immediately about the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies and of Gerardo Marotta its president”. “The Institute, from the very “beginning“, was structured as an “active” school open to the “new alliance” between natural and human sciences“ (28).

Giuseppe Galasso, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary History at the University Federico II in Naples, and Member of the Academy of Lincei in Rome, on the death of Gerardo Marotta wrote about “The Constructive Utopia of Marotta” (29). “There were utopia and dreams in his personality. They preceded that in the thought and in the action of Gerardo Marotta, who died last Tuesday at the age of 89 years, impressions and appearances induced to believe in it, but there was no utopia, there were no dreams as a way to escape from reality, or impotence to cope with it. It was just the contrary. There were strong and concrete pushes to work constructively in the reality using acute judgment and practical wisdom. His dream, his utopia, were in seeing the Republic of Plato realized and triumphant on the dregs of Romulus, just to use the words of Gianbattista Vico (1668-1744), much loved by Marotta, as all the other great exponents of the Neapolitan Thought from Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) to Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639) and to Benedetto Croce (1866-1952). Marotta saw that the Republic was exemplified in the short season of 1799. For him, the subsequent ferocious Bourbon repressions decapitated the flowers of the highest spirits of Naples, thus causing a decadence from which the Neapolitan bourgeoisie and its culture were unable to get out” (29).

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Heartfelt thanks are due to Emanuela Appetiti, CEO of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Tradition, Washington DC, USA, for accurate revision and editing of this manuscript.

We thank Malcolm E. Phillips, Retired Nephrologist and Medical Director of Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals Trust London, United Kingdom, for many relevant suggestions.

 

References

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