Javier Otaduy University of Navarra Francisco D’Agostino is an indisputable reference for a current, intelligent and cultured presentation of legal philosophy and the great subjects of natural law. He is Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Roma-Tor Vergata.
A philosophy della famiglia
He directs (among others) the Rivista internazionale di Filosofia del Diritto. He is president of the Italian Bioethics Committee and also chairs the Italian Catholic Legal Union. The last few years have been of intense editorial production. In 1998 the second edition of his Filosofia del diritto was published. In 1999 the fourth edition of La sanzione nelf espeienza giuridica appeared, and the third edition of Bioetica. In 2000 he published Diritto e Giustizia. This book (Una philosophia della famiglia [new edizione riveduta e wide-ta] Giuffre editore, Milano 2003, 275 pp.) Is the third Italian edition of a work in progress. “The materials collected in this volume have germinated from a fundamental thematic nucleus, which was presented in 1988, in the form of a conference, at a seminar organized by the Institute of Sciences for the Family, of the University of Navarra” (p. V, Premessa). From this nucleus sprang in 1991 a work with versions in Spanish and Italian (Elements for a philosophy of the family and Linee di un philosophia della famiglia, nella pros-pettiva dellafilosofia del diritto).
In 1999, as Francisco D’Agostino himself says, the work increased the materials and contracted the title. It was renamed as it is now called, Una philosophy della famiglia. In this 2003 edition the author, who has continued to work assiduously on the family, has expanded and remodeled the materials in this essay. New texts and new perspectives have been added, especially in the field of bioethics. The book has already become an open treatise. In this long editorial trajectory, it is also necessary to include, in 2002, the second Spanish edition, which is a reissue of the 1991 version.
Elements for a philosophy of the family
The transversal family. Philosophical anthropology, ethnology, and law are constantly present in D’Agostino’s work. But so are ethics, psychology, metaphysics, theology, and the history of culture. To question all the human sciences, or to allow oneself to be questioned by them, expresses well that the family is a reality that necessarily involves man, whatever the angle from which he looks at himself.
All of this might seem like a methodological nonsense. It would be so effectively if the perspectives were not distinguished, but the author is scrupulous about formal perspective aspects. But what D’Agostino does not want in any way is to slip down the slope of mere legal correction. That correction that seems to demand that the jurist dedicate himself to “his own”, understanding by his own to polish the purity of positive law or to act as a notary for the majority social behavior. As if he should be neutral to the truth of the family. The book is a response to this policy of correction, made from correction, that is, without skipping any of the academic values.
D’Agostino starts from the conviction that man is hamo familiaris, that is, that the family does not need defenses. At least it does not need intrinsic defenses because it would be like defending man. It is clear, however, that both the man and the family can be in extrinsic difficulties. We are seeing them day by day. It is surprising to contemplate, for example, the gay ideology (I am not talking about homosexuals) vindicating marriage and family relationships. No better demonstration of the natural condition in which the family is perceived.
No more conclusive statement of how much it needs to be defended. The paradigm of rupture now calls for family ties, the ties of the natural society that is the family. If it weren’t terrible it would be very instructive. I allow myself this reference to the present moment without, of course, following the expository order of D’Agostino’s book. It has thirteen chapters. The first two wonder about the notion of family and marriage. From the third to the sixth chapter, the great methodological questions on anthropology and law in the family sphere are established.