Rethinking Boethius. The role of the notion of nature within the definition of person


  • Antonio Petagine Pontificia Università della Santa Croce



The notion of person today appears to be crossed by an unsurpassed ambiguity. It is certainly due to the complexity of its historical history, but above all to the fact that such a notion is a battleground between two rival anthropological concepts: the first is the one that dates back to Severino Boethius, who, between the fifth and sixth centuries AD , has established a strong bond between person and nature; the second is that matured starting from John Locke, who indicated conscience as the criterion of personal identity.

In this contribution, the author highlights the role of the notion of nature within the classic definition of person, showing how such a role has produced for centuries the attribution of personal dignity to the very being of the individual. Thus, the author remarks that, starting with John Locke, such a conception has been abandoned, thus shifting the recognition of who is a person from the being of the individual to that of what the individual is capable of doing. , thus providing an unexpected theoretical basis for the construction of a society based on having and on the 'dictatorship of performance'.





Nature and metaphysics in the history of philosophy