BARATONO Adelchi—philosopher, aesthetician, statesman (socialist), follower of Kantianism, b. April 8, 1875 in Florence, d. September 30, 1947 in Genoa.
Baratono studied in Genoa. He lectured in Genoa, Cagliari, and Milan. His most important works: Critica e pedagogia dei valori (Palermo 1918); Il mondo sensibile, introduzione all’estetica (Messina 1934); Hume e l’illuminismo inglese (Mi 1943); Il mio paradosso (in: Filosofi italiani contemporanei, Como 1944)—a presentation of his his own views; Arte e poesia (Mi 1945); Il pensiero come attività estetica (Logos (1926) n. 4); Un occasionalismo sensista (Archivio filosofico (1940) n. 3).
Baratono’s Kantianism was apparent in his criticism of the theory of values in general and in his theory of aesthetic value in particular. Criticism makes a man capable of seeking values and should lead him to the revelation of God (God is understood here in Kantian fashion as “a postulate of ethical thought”). In his writings on aesthetics, Baratono made, as he put it, an “existential test” of the spiritual content of the sensory object. Aesthetics here had a higher rank than the theory of knowledge, since in the theory of knowledge reality is co-created as a cognitive object, while the aesthetic critique makes it possible for the world that can be known by the senses (the world as being thought up) to become “a world for its own sake, as the form of existence”. Beauty, which is a concrete sensual form, requires existence in itself and creates the matter of art (cf. Il mio paradosso, 136). Baratono’s last book, Arte e poesia (Sztuka i poezja [Art and poetry]), introduces a distinction between the artistic problem and the aesthetic problem. The artistic problem concerns the relation between the form and content of art, while the aesthetic problem refers to form alone and its connection with “matter”.
In his article Un occasionalismo sensista (Okazjonalizm zmysłowy [Sensual occasionalism]), Baratono ascribes to himself a certain kind of Berkeleyan occasionalism, seen in the light of Kant’s transcendentalism and the reversed subjectivism of Hume.
U. Spirito, L’idealismo italiano e i suoi critici, Fi 1930; G. Gentile, La riforma della facoltà filosofica (secondo Adelchi Baratono), Giornale critico della Filosofia italiana (1931) n. 2 (passim); M. F. Sciacca, Il Secolo XX, Mi 1942, 183–189; 755–756; G. Bontadini, Dall’attualismo al problematicismo, Bre 1947; M. Martini, Baratono, Banfi, Calogero, Della Volpe, Il pensiero (1951) n. 1 (passim); C. Talenti, Adelchi Baratono, Tn 1957.