This paper analyses, with a critical eye, the anthropological conceptions of Guglielmo Ferrero, developed by him in the late Nineteenth century. In his early studies he still develops his thoughts according to the theories of the Darwinian biology. He is also influenced by Cesare Lombroso’s doctrines. The “natural” man is essentially feral, violent, fearful of death and murder. His violent acts are determined by fear and libido dominandi. The refined civilization of the 19th century, according to the young Ferrero, is a super-structure resting on the feral and murderous base of the natural human being. In the essay-conference Militarismo (1897-98) Ferrero confirms that fierceness is an essential aspect of human nature but now he adds the need to escape from pain and to look for the pleasure. So, men tend to associate themselves, but always hovering on the brink of mutual oppression. In the following writings Ferrero integrates the homo homini lupus and the sociable man with the strong-willed man. However, this anthropological prism remains marked by a deep pessimism, despite the confidence that Ferrero has in the civil and industrial progress of Europe belle époque.
Keywords: Militarism, Homo Europaeus, Civilization, Voluntarism, Pacifism.
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