In the aftermath of the IV International Congress of Philosophy, organized by Enriques at Bologna in April 1911, Croce harshly criticized the mathematician because of the overly scientific nature of the conference. He also attacked Enriques on a personal level, calling him the President of a "weakly composite and inert Italian Philosophical Society". The latter criticism, generally considered insignificant "because it is too personal and lacking in philosophical content", on the contrary deserves some attention: in fact it seems to refer to the intense activity of reforming Italian schools and universities to which Enriques had dedicated himself in the previous five years, in his role as President of the Italian Philosophical Society. The Author focuses both on Enriques’ lucid and thorough analysis of the problems that affected Italian universities in the early 20th century and on his original proposals for reform. These aspects underline the leading role played by the mathematician in the cultural and political debate of the time and explain the harsh tones in his dispute with Croce.
Keywords: Enriques, Croce, philosophy, science, university reform