When I began my journey through the world of American philosophy, I did not suspect that my cahiers de voyage would become the basis of this book. I thought that those pages and pages of notes and memoranda, along with the kilometers of recorded tape, would only be used to confront some judgments on the history of nineteenth-century American thought, the subject of a book I am currently writing for Editori Laterza. However, the intensity and the unexpected interrelation of these dialogues with nine of the most significant American philosophers persuaded me to give them an autonomous form.
The snowy morning spent with Willard Van Orman Quine and his "navigated" wisdom, the utopian impulse of Robert Nozick, the encyclopedic conversations with Hilary Putnam and Stanley Cavell--in the setting of Emerson Hall, in the heart of Harvard-- were unforgettable moments. So, too, was the long walk with Richard Rorty, under the white portico of the University of Virginia, a miracle of Jeffersonian order; the discovery of the precise and remote world of Alasdair MacIntyre; the true New York evenings with Arthur C. Danto, often in the company of his wife Barbara; the discussions in the Boston townhouse of Thomas S. Kuhn; and, finally, the wanderings with Donald Davidson through the medieval setting of San Marino, where we were guests of Umberto Eco and his International Center of Semiotic and Cognitive Science.
I extend my gratitude to all of them. I would also like to thank