ROSMINI, Antonio Rosmini Serbati, Italian philosopher: b. Roveredo in the Italian Tyrol, 25 March 1797; d. Stresa, 1 July 1855. He began the course of studies for the priesthood at Padua in 1817, and was ordained in 1821. He became deeply versed in philosophy, ancient and modern, and revolved in his mind a comprehensive system to serve as a basis for the truths of revelation, while on the practical side he planned an institution for the training of teachers and priests. From 1826 to 1828 he lived mostly in Milan, thcnight out the rule of his new order, visited Rome, gained the approval of Pius VIII both for special studies and for the institution of his order, and pub lished his (New Essay on the Origin of Ideas' (1830).
After a few years of labor at Trent he set tled in 1837 at Stresa on the west shore of Lago Maggiore and, surrounded by loving and devoted friends, sent volume after volume to the press. His dream in politics, as expressed in his 'Constitution according to Social Justice' (1848), was a confederation of the states of Italy under the Pope as perpetual president. For a brief period he basked in the papal favor, and was promised by Pius X a cardinal's hat; and on the Pope's flight to Gaeta he followed, but now found the pontiff's mind turned against him and never afterward regained his confi dence. His and (The Five Wounds of Holy Church> were next prohibited by an irregular meeting of the Congregation of the Index called at Naples. But in 1854 the Congregation of the Index, the Pope presiding, declared Rosmini's writings entirely free from censure and enjoined perpetual silence on all his accusers. The 'Institute of the Brethren of Charity* survived its founder, and among the Rosminian Fathers, who are mostly Italians or Englishmen, are to be found at the present day some of the ablest and most devoted sons of the Roman Church. In England it has foundations at Ratcliffe, Loughborough, Cardiff, Wadhurst, Rugby, and established in 1876 its central house at Saint Ethelreda's, Holborn, once the domestic chapel of the palace of the bishops of Ely.
The foundation of Rosmini's philosophy is being considered as the form of the intelligence — an elemental intuition of which is implanted by Nature herself. Intuition gives us ideas, of
which we may affirm (1) that they are not nothing; (2) that they are not ourselves; (3) that they have a mode of existence of their own, entirely different from that of real or sub sistent things, and. independent of the bodily tense. Their two essential characteristics are universality and necessity; for real objects and sensations are always particular, instead of be ing universal and generic, and every object which involves no contradiction is ,necessarily Possible. These two characteristics involve two others, infinity and eternity; the origin of the ideas comes from God, for man does not re ceive them from the things themselves. The one indeterminate and wholly universal idea is that of being or existence; we cannot determine the subsistence of an object until we first have the idea of it, thereforeperception involves the idea Whitt' is further itolated from all the other elements of the perception by the process of uni versalization through whid it may be realized an indefinite number of times. When the ideas are all fully or perfectly determined, they are called concrete; when they remain to a certain extent indeterminate, they are abstract. Being is incorporeal, independent of space, spiri and therefore incorruptible and immortal. It is independent of time; as being in its essence is always being, and as it would be a contradiction in terms for being to cease to be being, it is eternal. But since it was united to the soul in time, it must have existed before it and be independent of it. And thus we reach an Intel ligence anterior to human intelligence—an Eternal Mind. This eternal mind is God's, and therefore God exists, and his existence and the immortality of the soul remain the true founda tion of morals. Consult Tommaseo, (Antonio RosminP (1855); Lockhart, 'Life of Antonio Rosmini> (1866); Werner, and seine Schule> (1884) ; and above all, Davidson, Thomas, Philosophical System of Rosmini' (1882).