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Discipline Filosofiche, XXIX, 2, 2019. INSTITUTION: ONTOLOGICAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL, LEGAL AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES. Ed. by Enrica Lisciani-Petrini and Massimo Adinolfi

Being capable of “institution” is the key feature of human beings as such. This makes it necessary to relate its understanding to the historical and cultural processes that gradually change the perspectives of sense on human beings and the world. The aim of this issue is to review some classical takes on the problem, in an attempt to promote a fresh view of the issue aimed at an “ontology of the present”. Three paths have been selected to this effect:

1) The phenomenologico-ontological path starts from a critique of Husserl’s notion of “constitution” (Leistung). This is the case of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who argues that the notion of “institution” (Stiftung) needs to be radically reconceived, appearing no longer as a “constituting act” of an intentional subject, but as an “instituting circulation”, a continuous “decentralization and recentralization”, which, by constantly referring back and forth between past and present, facticity and artifice, nature and culture, goes beyond Phenomenology to reach, with Jakob von Uexküll, Biology. Political thought also moves in this direction.

2) A second, anthropological path addresses, on the one hand, the “negative” conception of institution that goes back to Thomas Hobbes (institution as a check on human nature) and was subsequently expounded by Max Weber (institutions as administrative procedures characteristic of social functioning), Arnold Gehlen (institutions as human being’s self-disciplining for survival) and Helmuth Plessner (human being as an animal “open to the world” because of his lack of instinct); on the other hand, it considers the “positive” conception of institution that received its most original formulation by Gilles Deleuze, according to whom institutions are an expansive and creative “organized system of means” set up for the satisfaction of human needs.

3) A third, legal-political path considers institutions no longer as artificial constructions, but as evolving social organisms (Herbert Spencer and Émile Durkheim). Along this legal-political path one finds both Carl Schmitt’s institutionalism, which, taking a leaf from Maurice Hauriou’s and Santi Romano’s institutionalism, takes a stand against Normativism and Decisionism with the aim of emphasizing the function of social bodies endowed with a life of their own, and the Neo-Institutionalist perspective that has emerged in the analytic tradition, with Neil MacCormick and Ota Weinberger as its main exponents.


Guidelines for the authors: contributions may be submitted in Italian, English, German or French. The manuscripts must be sent in a Word format, along with a .pdf version, as an email attachment to Enrica Lisciani-Petrini ( and Massimo Adinolfi ( The contributions will be sent to two independent reviewers, according to the double-blind review procedure. The reviewers may ask authors to make changes or improvements to their contributions for the sake of publication. Authors are kindly requested to attach both an anonymous version of their contribution entitled “Manuscript” and a separate “Cover Page” stating their name, academic title, university (or institute), and contact details. The Manuscript must include an English-language abstract of less than 150 words and 5 keywords. Any property of the file that might identify the author must be removed, so as to ensure anonymity during the review process. A notification of receipt will be issued for each text. In drafting his or her contribution, an author can adopt any clear and coherent style, but should the text be accepted for publication, the author will be required to send a final version in keeping with the editorial guidelines of the journal (please refer to the editorial guidelines on page By submitting a manuscript, the author is acknowledging that the text has not previously been published elsewhere and that it is not currently being considered for publication by any other journal. Should the manuscript be accepted for publication, the author will be required to transfer copyrights to the University of Bologna. Requests to republish the article may be made to the Editorial Board of the Journal.

Deadline for the submission of manuscripts: March, 31, 2019

Notification of acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection: May, 31, 2019

Deadline for the submission of the final draft: July, 31, 2019