Historiographic categories in the history of Italian psychology. Sante De Sanctis between psychiatry and psychology

Giovanni Pietro Lombardo


Sante De Sanctis, psychologist and psychiatrist, is one of the most representative figures in Italian scientific psychology. Considered among the founders of the discipline and one of its main protagonists in the inter-war period, in the massive bulk of his scientific writings (more than three hundred works of general psychology, psychopathology, pedagogic psychology, criminal psychology and infantile neuropsychiatry) and in his uninterrupted institutional activity, he left a tangible mark on the history of psychology in our country. 
In 1901 he obtained the Psychology professorship at the Philosophy Faculty in Rome, and a few years later was appointed to the first chair in Experimental Psychology at the University of Rome. At an international level, De Sanctis is the best known among Italian psychologists: some of his work has appeared in French, Swiss, American, German, Scandinavian and English journals and several books have been translated into English and German. He is the only Italian along with other second generation psychologists (Binet, Külpe, Münsterberg, Stern, Claparède, Ebbinghaus) to integrate the classical paradigm of Wundtian physiological psychology, in an attempt at the methodological and epistemological expansion of the discipline. 
The aim of this paper is therefore to bring out the originality of his clinical-differential experimentalism which in the 1900s founded the psychology discipline, which with De Sanctis proved capable of “dialoging” with the main representatives of the variegated Italian scientific, cultural and academic world, consisting mainly of physiologists, psychiatrists, anthropologists, criminologists, biologists, philosophers, many of whom had a neo-Kantian training, and pedagogists.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363