|Michele Federico Sciacca|
Michele Federico Sciacca was a founder of the Gallarate movement, professor of theoretical philosophy at the University of Genoa, and the founder and editor of the journals Giornale di metafisica and Humanitas. He started as a historian of ideas, writing important works on Reid (1935), Plato (1939), and St. Augustine (1939); a massive review of Italian thought, Il XX secolo; and a review of contemporary European thought, La filosofia oggi.
Although Sciacca studied under Antonio Aliotta, his major stimulus came from Giovanni Gentile, from whom Sciacca derived his basic axiom that concrete being must be act, never fact. Sciacca developed this principle in his own fashion under the influence of Plato, St. Augustine, Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, and Maurice Blondel.
Sciacca’s position was one of “integralism.” The central notion of integralism is interiority, according to which the ground of all forms of being and existence lies in the activity of the subject. Sciacca asserts that the existent, or act, cannot be a fact among facts; its existence resides wholly in its own self-generative actuality. Against existentialism he asserts that the being of the existent cannot be pure possibility or nothingness; it must be being.
The whole concern of integralism is to establish the character of the being that the existent is. Sciacca holds this being to be objective interiority, which he delineates in his most original speculative work, Interiorità oggettiva (Milan, 1951). Interiority is the positing by the existent of itself as act. So defined, it cannot be conceived as purely immanent, in the manner of Gentile.
It must posit itself with reference to a transcendent and objective reality and define itself within this horizon. The basic structural principle of interiority is truth, or the subject’s affirmation of the ground of its existence in the very act of existing.
The immanent ground of the subject and of all existence is a transcendent being, not abstract but more concrete and existentially real than the subject—God. In affirming the existence of God, the subject also affirms its own being, the innermost character of its own act of existing.
Sciacca’s basic insight is thus that the being of the subject cannot be mere possibility, nothingness, or facticity but must be act; that this act is the affirmation of its own actuality through the affirmation of its transcendent ground; and that the absolute existent is present in concrete human existence. It is this presence of the Absolute that establishes the human existent as a person.
In Morte ed immortalità, Sciacca holds that the affirmation of God within human existence that constitutes the human subject cannot be a merely transitory relationship and that immortality is therefore the logical extension of interior objectivity.