Italian, b: 28 January 1895, Nicosia, Sicily, d: Deceased. Cat: Theorist of knowledge. Appts: Taught theoretical philosophy, University of Catania.
La Via's work is a meditation on internal tensions in a philosophical tradition that finds its Italian expression in Gentile, tensions which stem from a Hegelian drive to resolve differences into unity. He unveils in idealism the constant tension between absolute subjectivism and absolute historicism, between the view that everything is determined by the self and the view of the self as a function of historical forces. Descartes and Kant had claimed truth to be something which the self institutes and into which it enters. But from what point of view is this assertion made? If made by a self that stands outside the process, a kind of transcendentalism results that is at odds with its Kantian origins and which implies an unacceptable duality between the self and what it knows. For La Via truth is not, as it was for idealists, something to be viewed from a transcendental viewpoint. Etre e avoir generates from this a criticism of possessiveness (later extended into trenchant remarks on technical utility) and its relation to contemporary decadence and opposes to it an analysis of the experiences that lead us to spirituality.
French, b: 5 October 1860, Chazelet, Indre, France, d: 6 October 1932, Paris. Cat: Philosophical theologian. Ints: Catholic apologetics; philosophy of education. Educ: Grand Séminaire of Bourges Cathedral; classes at the Sorbonne. In/Is: Pascal, Malebranche, Maine de Biran, A.J.A. Gratry, E. Boutroux, Ollé-Laprune and M. Blondel. Appts: Collège de Juilly (Paris), 1887; École Massillon, 1886; Rector, Collège de Juilly, 1900.