Norberto Bobbio

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Norberto Bobbio signature.

Norberto Bobbio (October 18, 1909 – January 9, 2004) was an Italian philosopher of law and political sciences and a historian of political thought.


  • Lewis has written that "man makes history." Althusser unleashes a pamphlet at him maintaining that such is not the case: "Ce sont les masses quifont I'histoire." I challenge anyone to find a social scientist outside the Marxist camp who can seriously pose a problem of this type.
    • In: Telos Nr. 35-38, (1978), p. 11
  • If, then, at the end of this analysis, I am asked to take off the mortar-board of the academic and put on the hat of someone deeply involved in the political developments of the age he lives in, I have no hesitation in saying that my preference is for the rule of law rather than of men. The rule of law is now celebrating its final triumph as the basis of the democratic system. What is democracy other than a set of rules (the so-called rules of the game) for the solution of conflicts without bloodshed? And what constitutes good democratic government if not rigorous respect for these rules? I for one have no doubts about how such questions are to be answered. And precisely because I have no doubts I can conclude in all good conscience that democracy is the rule of law par excellence. The very moment a democracy loses sight of this, its inspiring principle, it rapidly reverts into its opposite, into one of the many forms of autocratic government which haunt the chronicles of historians and the speculations of political thinkers.
    • The Future of Democracy: A Defence Of The Rules Of The Game (1984), Ch. 7: The Rule of Men or the Rule of Law

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