The Historiography of Philosophy: From School Textbooks to Works for a Wider Readership
In the late eighteenth century, the historiography of philosophy in Italy presented not only treatises dealing broadly with the subject of philosophy, but also a fairly large number of works produced for schools. These constitute a form of minor historiography of a propaedeutic or moralistic and educational nature. In eighteenth-century Italy, schools responded to the traditional demand for a rhetorical, literary and intellectual, and ethical and religious education. In particular, as far as philosophy was concerned, logic or dialectic was dominant in the higher educational curricula, in line with the gradual affirmation of Locke’s epistemological doctrines. Logic and dialectic constituted the first year of the course on philosophy, which then continued with lessons on physics and metaphysics. The study of metaphysics was followed by that of moral philosophy, which was mainly based on Aristotle’s doctrines. Only in the late eighteenth century did the new treatises on moral philosophy that were then appearing start to be used in schools, in particular the Filosofia morale (Venice, 1754) by Lodovico Antonio Muratori, which presented ancient wisdom in an accessible style.