Ermanno Bencivenga

Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities, Philosophy
School of Humanities

PH.D., University of Toronto

Phone: (949) 824-6527
Fax: (949) 824-6520

University of California, Irvine
98 Humanities Instructional Building
Mail Code: 4555
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Ermanno  Bencivenga

Logic, ethics, political philosophy
URL Final Evaluation: Philosophy 4 (Winter 2011)
UCI Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, 1981.
UCI Extension Distinguished Teaching Award, 1994.
UCI Humanities Associates Faculty Teaching Award, 1996.
UCI Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1996.
UCI Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award for Teaching, 2000.
I like philosophy that is logically tight, historically informed, and deals with issues that are central to the human condition. I like good writing, which includes, but is not reducible to, clear writing: it also includes respect and appreciation, indeed affection, for the texture and the resonances of words. Finally, I believe that one learns by doing; so, if I want my philosophy to display the qualities above, I should practice them thoroughly and systematically. My intellectual biography so far is an expression of these values. I did a lot of work in formal logic in the seventies, culminating in a new semantics for logics free of existential assumptions. In the eighties, I did a lot of work in the history of philosophy, culminating in my book Kant's Copernican Revolution. Now I see myself largely as developing my own perspective on such fundamental metaphysical and moral issues as the nature of subjectivity and reason, and the ideal goals of communal life. I treat these themes in a variety of styles: sometimes by exploring historical figures (as in The Discipline of Subjectivity, Logic and Other Nonsense, Hegel's Dialectical Logic, and Ethics Vindicated), sometimes in dialogue form (as in Philosophy in Play and Freedom), sometimes in essay form (as in Looser Ends, My Kantian Ways, and Exercises in Constructive Imagination), sometimes in Tractarian form (A Theory of Language and Mind), and sometimes in the form of aphorisms (Dancing Souls). I was for thirty years founding editor of the international philosophy journal Topoi and of the Topoi Library. In my native Italian, I have published numerous books of philosophy for the lay public and contribute regularly to major newspapers, both of which I see as a continuation of my general intellectual project by other means.
Publications Kant's Copernican Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Looser Ends: The Practice of Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.
The Discipline of Subjectivity: An Essay on Montaigne. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Logic and Other Nonsense: The Case of Anselm and His God. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.
Philosophy in Play. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994.
My Kantian Ways. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
A Theory of Language and Mind. Berkeley: University of California Press 1997.
Freedom: A Dialogue. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997.
Hegel's Dialectical Logic. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Exercises in Constructive Imagination. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001.
Dancing Souls. Lanham (MD): Lexington Books, 2003.
Ethics Vindicated: Kant's Transcendental Legitimation of Moral Discourse. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
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Last updated 07/28/2014