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Catholic Fideism and its Origins in Modern Philosophy

Modern Skepticism at the Origins of Fideism by Antonio Livi   As I have already often argued, modern Western philosophy is deeply dependent from Christian revelation. Such a dependence has been demonstrated by contemporary historians on the basis of two undeniable facts: i) the fact that all modern...

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This is the personal website of

A.Livi.img002Antonio Livi, Ph.D.,

Professor Emeritus of the Philosophical Faculty, Lateran University (Rome),

President of the

International “Sensus Communis” Association.

See the contents of this website…

  • For obtaining a critical information about Professor Antonio Livi’s philosophical and theological research, especially in the fields of alethic logic and common sense philosophy (see the page “PERSONAL INFORMATION“).
  • For consulting a complete and updated report of his philosophical and theological works in Italian, in English, in French, and in Spanish (see the page “BIBLIOGRAPHY“).
  • For downloading available materials which would be useful for your own studies and research (see the page “DIALOGUES“).
  • For visiting other websites which are connected with Professor Livi’s research topics.


Who is Antonio Livi

The Italian philosopher Antonio Livi (born in Prato in 1938) is known all around the world for his original “philosophy of common sense”.

He was teaching Epistemology in several European Universities and he was the Dean of the Department of Philosophy at the Lateran University in Rome from 2002 to 2008. He is the founder and the current President of the International Science and Commonsense Association, and the Editor of  Sensus communis.  International Yearbook for Studies on Alethic Logic.

The search for a new theory of truth on the principles of alethic logic is the main topic Antonio Livi is concerned with.

He published on this topic more than twenty books, but the most known is Filosofia del senso comune. Logica della scienza e della fede, recently translated into English with the title A Philosophy of Common Sense (Aurora, Col.: The Davies Group Publishers, 2013) . This work, originally published in Italian in 1990, was already translated into Spanish (1997) and into French (2002). A second Italian edition of this work was published in 2010. Another  Livi’s work translated into English is Reason for Believing (Aurora, Col.: The Davies Group Publishers, 2008).

A Brief Philosophical Self-Presentation

The main subject of my research is the truth-value of knowledge in its different levels or meanings: ordinary knowledge, scientific inquiry, and religious belief (especially Christian faith).

This subject was formerly developed studying the relationship  between Christian faith and philosophy, with an analysis and a critique of the opinions maintained around the year 1931 in France by rationalist scholars (as Émile Bréhier and Léon Brunschvicg) against Catholic philosophers (as Étienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain, and Maurice Blondel), when the possibility and the value of  a Christian philosophy was discussed in France at the “Sorbonne” University. I analysed also the opinions expressed by other Catholic philosophers who were in disagreement with Maritain and Gilson for their alleged “fideism”. The conclusions I have obtained with this research is an idea of philosophy which is just what Aquinas performed in his own times and with his own language, that is an intellectual work which is  as far from rationalism as from scepticism, since it has the consciousness both of its possibilities and of its limits. According to this notion of philosophy as an “open system”, the positive influence of Christian revelation on the development of a truly philosophical research is not only a reasonable abstract  possibility, but also a matter of fact as a result of historical inquiry on philosophy, as it has been developed  from the second century of the Christian age up to the twentieth century.

After reaching these conclusions, I was studying the foundation of truth according to contemporary logic and philosophy of language. In this field I discovered the great relevance of the notion of “common sense”, originally created by some modern philosophers as Claude Buffier, Thomas Reid, and Giambattista Vico, and after them developed by Friedrich Jacobi, Jaime Balmes, John Henry Newman, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange. Between contemporary philosophers, the epistemological value of common sense was re-discovered by some others philosophers as Hannah Arendt and  Hans-Georg Gadamer in Germany, Mortimer Adler and Donald Davidson in the United States of America, Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson in France, and Enrico Castelli and Luigi Pareyson in Italy. Upon the basis of their studies, I  attempted to build up a complete theory of common sense, including a demonstration of its real presence in the background of all human knowledge, and also a demonstration of its active presence in the life of mind when it is concerned with truth. This theory is a useful logical means in order to show the primacy of experience upon science, and also the absolute need of rational human premises for understanding and accepting God’s revelation, according to what John Paul the 2nd wrote in his Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio.