Actual idealism

Actual idealism was a form of idealism, developed by Giovanni Gentile, that grew into a 'grounded' idealism, contrasting the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, and the absolute idealism of G. W. F. Hegel. To Gentile, who considered himself the "philosopher of Fascism," actualism was the sole remedy to philosophically preserving free agency, by making the act of thinking self-creative and, therefore, without any contingency and not in the potency of any other fact.

Giovanni Gentile
Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who developed actual idealism. It contrasted the transcendental idealism of Kant and the absolute idealism of Hegel

Central tenets

Actual idealism holds that it is the act of thinking as perception, not creative thought as imagination, which defines reality. Therefore, one idea, or another, can only be a formulation of particulars within the bounds of a known totality, in which one idea is not on any side of those particulars. Totality constituting the whole cohesive reality, is negated in such idea by itself. Integration of totality against idea, in appealing to oneself, is the sole fruitful means of idea, which poses no favoritism to the developed ideas giving a knowing precedence to the world it has created itself into. Anything less is a presupposition and therefore innately unreal. This totality is the act of thinking, not thoughts so regarded by thinking.

While realists agree that the world known to them is the only one they possibly know 'as a static concept,' they continue to regard something real about the concept having nothing to do with their thinking. Actual idealists disregard the static concept, as totally false, in regard to the world for them where the only real is in 'the act of thinking' within being.

The stance of realism claims that repeatability of experience gives proof of a basis, which transcends and outruns our percepts, refuting Idealism. Yet it does not consider that the process of thinking, as creation, and the thought about thinking, as abstraction, interchange depending on the quality of one's act. It is the process of thinking that creates thought, which may not recur, but what occurs as thinking of it is what cannot be outrun as a conceptualization, for it is the very immanent process of it, which is what definitely is. Not as thoughts perceived, but as perceptive thinking prior to being construed outside its own totality as a thought, not made an abstraction, which cannot exist or be supposed to exist in any form outside one's thinking. Only one's thought reached from -and thus put outside of- thinking can be surpassed; but only by thinking, not by an abstract external.

Actual idealism, therefore, rejects the Hegelian 'Absolute' as being a presupposition unprovable to the mind, unless considered to be synonymous with what's known or the totality of the act of thinking. Which therein would put the dialectical processes making 'self' & 'not self' a consideration proving external existence real, insofar as it is in reality part of the self's own thinking, since the self, regarded alone, is always a concept and cannot be given reality as such. Neither does Actual idealism admit archetypal concepts in that possible conception of them in relation to all else gives them no reality. Gentile made a pivotal distinction to factors concerning Idealism's own criteria for reality, which have stood since Berkeley's adage "Esse est percipi" by distinguishing between "pensiero pensante" the 'act of thinking', and the 'static thought' "pensiero pensato".

Gentile posited then, that knowledge as thought fixed against a fuller range of thinking limits thinking's every proposition. If truth is what surpasses the conditions of every proposition, taking a known postulate as truth removes its criteria from having that capability in thinking. Objectifying actuality. Truth then cannot be known by thought, since knowledge held as thought is privative toward thinking as decided by what's thought. Only thinking as it penetrates, not given in to what categories of thought orient it, can be truth, so long as it does not resort to thought in doing so which would objectify it. Such thinking is truth because it therefore defines reality as by that thinking, rather than excluding truth from the possibility of thinking because of its relation to yielding thoughts. Only because thinking's results, namely thoughts, do not pertain to what is arising from its act, the truth, does thinking itself become questioned as a proper conductor of truth. That however does not detract from the nature of truths being defined within the act as the concrete. Thinking, being the condition in which truths are measured, in fact affirms thinking's own condition as truth, and when coupled with the idea that it generates thoughts which negate it, must the concrete be identified with thinking rather than simply being denied to thought, seen as abstract, and having that together assumed with thinking as denied also. For thinking cannot therefore be solely a producer of thoughts alone to Gentile, as is the position taken by materialists, because thoughts are to him what negate it, but must also be what produces the stable environment wherein being happens. Which then is the direct result of oneself as the further quality in which reality is not negated, as it is by thoughts to themselves.

Therefore, this postulate maintains that thinking is an active process and the static conception of a thought is its dialectical opposite. Where thinking is the vitality of psychological being, a thought is opposed to that vitality and therefore would be opposed to that immanent quality where alone existence takes on its reality to the actual idealist. No sense or imagining of something beyond or external to the act of thinking in itself for the thinker can be real, and therefore cannot be said to exist, even if, to continue the act of thinking it must be said that it does exist as a creation of the act of thinking if even then it remains unreal. Which in considering it the measure of its existence is realized for then it is exposed to the act of thinking and is subject to reality; from an a priori beginning to a non-empirical conclusion without presupposition.


Actual idealism was successful in that it promoted a theory of regarding thought, that garnered enough attention, to prove a competition to the new waves of positivism, and therefore materialist conceptions of social life that were vying for reformist tendencies in the politics of the time. Its ideas, therefore, were key to helping the Fascist party consolidate power in Italy with its own reform, and integral to giving Fascism the content of its philosophical sentiment. Despite this, Gentile claimed actual idealism to be the true variety of positivism, and the proper interpretation of the concept of positivism.[1]


Benedetto Croce objected that Gentile's "pure act" is nothing other than Schopenhauer's will.[2] However Schopenhauer "…came to rest in an Absolute which transcends concrete experience … and for (Schopenhauer) the Critical Philosophy was only a prolegomena or propaedeutic to a speculative or 'transcendent' philosophy of the kind which Gentile and Kant are united in opposing",[3] according to H. S. Harris's book on the basic metaphysics of Giovanni Gentile in contrast to that of Schopenhauer.

See also



  1. ^ The Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile: An Inquiry into Gentile's Conception of Experience.
  2. ^ Treasury of Philosophy, edited by Dagobert D. Runes, Philosophical Library, New York, 1955: "Gentile, Giovanni"
  3. ^ The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile, p. 9.


  • The Theory of Mind as Pure Act (Giovanni Gentile; Herbert Wildon Carr, London, Macmillan, 1922) ISBN 1-903331-29-3
  • The Idealism of Giovanni Gentile (Roger W. Holmes, Macmillan, 1937) ISBN 0-404-16948-1
  • The Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile: An Inquiry into Gentile's Conception of Experience (Pasquale Romanelli, Birnbaum, 1937)
  • The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile (H. S. Harris, University of Illinois Press, 1960)
  • 'Genesis and Structure of Society (Giovanni Gentile; H. Harris, University of Illinois Press, 1966)
  • The Philosophy of Art (Giovanni Gentile; Giovanni Gullace, Cornell University Press 1972) ISBN 978-0-8014-0664-5
  • Giovanni Gentile: Philosopher of Fascism (A. James Gregor, Transaction Publishers, 2001) ISBN 0-7658-0593-6
In Italian
  • Opere complete di G. Gentile, Fondazione Giovanni Gentile per gli studi filosofici, Florence: Sansoni, 1955.
In German
  • Der aktuale Idealismus (Giovanni Gentile, Mohr Siebeck, 1931) ISBN 3-16-814141-0
  • Die Staatsphilosophie Giovanni Gentiles und die Versuche ihrer Verwirklichung im faschistischen Italien (Sebastian Schattenfroh, Lang, Peter, GmbH, Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1999) ISBN 3-631-34345-0
Argentine Fascist Party

The Argentine Fascist Party (Partido Fascista Argentino, PFA) was a fascist political party in Argentina from 1932 until its official disbandment in 1936, when it was succeeded by the National Fascist Union (Union Nacional Fascista, UNF). Founded by Italian Argentines, the party was formed as a breakaway faction from Argentina's National Fascist Party (Partido Nacional Fascista, PNF). It was based upon Italian Fascism and was recognized by Benito Mussolini's Italian National Fascist Party in 1935. In the 1930s the party became a mass organization, particularly in Córdoba. Nicholás Vitelli led the PFA's branch in Córdoba until his death in 1934, whereafter Nimio de Anquín took the leadership of the party. The PFA's main political allies in Córdoba were the Argentine Civic Legion and the Nationalist Action of Argentina/Affirmation of a New Argentina movement.

Argentine Patriotic League

The Argentine Patriotic League (Liga Patriótica Argentina) was a Nacionalista paramilitary group, officially created in Buenos Aires on January 16, 1919, during the Tragic week events. Presided over by Manuel Carlés, a professor at the Military College and the Escuela Superior de Guerra, it also counted among its members the deputy Santiago G. O'Farrell (1861-1926). The League was merged into the Argentine Civic Legion in 1931. The Argentine Patriotic League formed part of a larger movement of patriotic leagues active in Chile and Argentina during the early 20th century.

Blueshirts (Falange)

The Blueshirts (Spanish: Camisas Azules) was the Falangist paramilitary militia in Spain. The name refers to the blue uniform worn by members of the militia. The colour blue was chosen for the uniforms in 1934 by the FE de las JONS because it was, according to José Antonio Primo de Rivera, "clear, whole, and proletarian," and is the colour typically worn by mechanics, as the Falange sought to gain support among the Spanish working class. In Francoist Spain the Blueshirts were officially reorganized and officially renamed the Falange Militia of the FET y de las JONS in 1940.

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Fascio (pronounced [ˈfaʃʃo]; plural fasci) is an Italian word literally meaning "a bundle" or "a sheaf", and figuratively "league", and which was used in the late 19th century to refer to political groups of many different (and sometimes opposing) orientations. A number of nationalist fasci later evolved into the 20th century Fasci movement, which became known as fascism.

Fascism in Canada

Fascism in Canada (French: Fascisme au Canada) consisted of a variety of movements and political parties in Canada during the 20th century. Largely a fringe ideology, fascism has never commanded a large following amongst the Canadian people, and was most popular during the Great Depression. Most Canadian fascist leaders were interned at the outbreak of World War II under the Defence of Canada Regulations and in the post-war period, fascism never recovered its former small influence.

The Canadian Union of Fascists, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was modeled on Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. Its leader was Chuck Crate.

Parti National Social Chrétien was founded in Quebec in February 1934 by Adrien Arcand. In October 1934, the party merged with the Canadian Nationalist Party, which was based in the prairie provinces. In June 1938, it merged with Nazi groups from Ontario and Quebec (many of which were known as Swastika clubs), to form the National Unity Party.Fascist concepts and policies, such as eugenics, formulated in the US, found a friendly reception in Canada in some provinces, such as Alberta, where, under a Social Credit government, alleged mental defectives and other 'non-producers' were involuntarily sterilized to prevent the birth of more similar people. Social democrat Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan, wrote his 1933 master thesis paper endorsing some of the ideas of eugenics, but later abandoned and rejected such notions.

Giovanni Gentile

Giovanni Gentile (Italian: [dʒoˈvanni dʒenˈtiːle]; 30 May 1875 – 15 April 1944) was an Italian neo-Hegelian idealist philosopher, educator, and fascist politician. The self-styled "philosopher of Fascism", he was influential in providing an intellectual foundation for Italian Fascism, and ghostwrote part of The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) with Benito Mussolini. He was involved in the resurgence of Hegelian idealism in Italian philosophy and also devised his own system of thought, which he called "actual idealism" or "actualism", and which has been described as "the subjective extreme of the idealist tradition".

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Idealism theories are mainly divided into two groups. Subjective idealism takes as its starting point the given fact of human consciousness seeing the existing world as a combination of sensation. Objective idealism posits the existence of an objective consciousness which exists before and, in some sense, independently of human ones. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects those physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind.

The earliest extant arguments that the world of experience is grounded in the mental derive from India and Greece. The Hindu idealists in India and the Greek Neoplatonists gave panentheistic arguments for an all-pervading consciousness as the ground or true nature of reality. In contrast, the Yogācāra school, which arose within Mahayana Buddhism in India in the 4th century CE, based its "mind-only" idealism to a greater extent on phenomenological analyses of personal experience. This turn toward the subjective anticipated empiricists such as George Berkeley, who revived idealism in 18th-century Europe by employing skeptical arguments against materialism. Beginning with Immanuel Kant, German idealists such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, and Arthur Schopenhauer dominated 19th-century philosophy. This tradition, which emphasized the mental or "ideal" character of all phenomena, gave birth to idealistic and subjectivist schools ranging from British idealism to phenomenalism to existentialism.

Idealism as a philosophy came under heavy attack in the West at the turn of the 20th century. The most influential critics of both epistemological and ontological idealism were G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, but its critics also included the New Realists. According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the attacks by Moore and Russell were so influential that even more than 100 years later "any acknowledgment of idealistic tendencies is viewed in the English-speaking world with reservation". However, many aspects and paradigms of idealism did still have a large influence on subsequent philosophy.

Italian philosophy

Italy over the ages has had a vast influence on Western philosophy, beginning with the Greeks and Romans, and going onto Renaissance humanism, the Age of Enlightenment and modern philosophy.

List of fascist movements by country

This is a list of political parties, organizations, and movements that have been claimed to follow some form of fascist ideology. Since definitions of fascism vary, entries in this list may be controversial. For a discussion of the various debates surrounding the nature of fascism, see fascism and ideology and definitions of fascism.

This list has been divided into four sections for reasons of length:

List of fascist movements by country A–F

List of fascist movements by country G–M

List of fascist movements by country N–T

List of fascist movements by country U–Z

NSDAP/AO (1972)

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National Fascist Party (Argentina)

The National Fascist Party of Argentina (Partido Nacional Fascista) was a fascist political party formed in 1923. In 1932, a group broke away from the party to form the Argentine Fascist Party, which eventually became a mass movement in the Córdoba region of Argentina.

Proletarian nation

Proletarian nation was a term used by 20th century Italian nationalist intellectuals such as Enrico Corradini and later adopted by Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini to refer to Italy and other poorer countries that were subordinate to the Western imperialist powers. These powers were described by Mussolini as "plutocratic nations" (nazioni plutocratiche). Corradini associated the proletariat with the economic function of production and believed that the producers should be at the forefront of a new imperialist proletarian nation. Mussolini considered that the military struggles unfolding in Europe in the mid-20th century could have revolutionary consequences that could lead to an improvement in the position of Italy in comparison with the major imperialist powers such as Britain.

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Tropical fascism

In African political science, tropical fascism is a type of post-colonial state which is either considered fascist or is seen to have strong fascist tendencies. Gnassingbé Eyadéma dictator of Togo and leader of the Rally of the Togolese People, Mobutu Sese Seko dictator of Zaire and leader of the Popular Movement of the Revolution and Idi Amin dictator of Uganda have all been considered an example of tropical fascism in Africa. The Coalition for the Defence of the Republic and larger Hutu Power movement, a Hutu ultranationalist and supremacist movement that organized and committed the Rwandan Genocide aimed at exterminating the Tutsi people of Rwanda, has been regarded as a prominent example of tropical fascism in Africa. Pol Pot and The Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia has been called a tropical fascist regime, as they officially renounced communism in 1981.

Ugo Spirito

Ugo Spirito (September 9, 1896, Arezzo – April 28, 1979, Rome) was an Italian philosopher; at first, a fascist political philosopher and subsequently an idealist thinker. He has also been an academic and a University teacher.

Vito Fazio Allmayer

Vito Fazio Allmayer (Palermo, 21 November 1885 – Pisa, 14 April 1958) was an Italian philosopher, pedagogist and university teacher.

Young Egypt Party (1933)

The Young Egypt Party (Arabic: حزب مصر الفتاة‎, Misr El-Fatah) was an Egyptian political party.

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