Luigi Bonanate, Michelangelo Bovero and Luigi Ferrajoli remember Norberto Bobbio. Their interpretative essays provide an indication of the Piedmontese philosopher's thought, and above all of his model of teaching, his love for scholarship, research and knowledge.
by Luigi Bonanate
Bonanate reconstructs the itinerary of Norberto Bobbio's teaching career at the University of Turin. First in the Faculty of Jurisprudence from 1948 to 1971, and then the Faculty of Social Sciences from 1972 to 1979, where he taught successively in three disciplines: Legal philosophy, Political science and Political philosophy. He was Dean of the Faculty of Political Science for a three year period, and regarded academic appointments “demanding and unrewarding”. Whereas he always considered teaching the major activity of his life: “a habit and not only an occupation”.
by Michelangelo Bovero
Bobbio's work cannot be fully embraced, and resembles a labyrinth: “an intricate system of bifurcations, where every straight path stops at a junction, which is in turn the branch of a previous junction. The result is a tree-like structure whose branches intersect to form a dense network of dichotomies”. Bovero suggests ten orientation paths to investigate the labyrinth of Bobbio's body of writings: three pertaining to legal theory and seven to political theory.
by Michelangelo Bovero
Bovero underscores the importance of the “virtuous circle between research and teaching”, which characterized Bobbio's entire life of studies and sustained his prodigious scientific production. He highlights the role that the constant reference to the classics of Western thought played in Bobbio's teaching. His university courses “can be regarded as a kind of open dialogue and continuous comparison with the countless voices of culture in every age”.
by Luigi Ferrajoli
Ferrajoli maintains that Norberto Bobbio succeeded in combining in an original and fruitful way the two major disciplines he taught: legal philosophy and political philosophy, which from the end of World War II had ignored each other. This approach fostered the natural development of his intellectual trajectory from the general theory of law to the theory of democracy, along a path where scientific rigour and civic passion meet.
by Maurilio Guasco
Maurilio Guasco remembers Norberto Bobbio as a master, the conscience of our times: ‘If a teacher is not only someone who instructs you about knowledge, who encourages you to participate in his culture, but is also someone who with his life and words teaches you moral uprightness, respect for others, rejection of deceitfulness and superficiality, the capacity to choose based on one’s own principles: if a teacher does all this, then it can be said that Norberto Bobbio was for many of us a great master, even if we did not attend his university courses’.