During his first course in History of Philosophy, in Würzburg, in the winter semester of the academic year 1866-67, Brentano gave a long introduction to the concept and method of philosophy. The conclusion he reached, and which he always maintained, was that, in order to respond to the criticisms addressed to philosophy and overcome his state of indigence, it is necessary to highlight criteria for interpreting the events of the history of thought.
In order to fully understand these instances, which then branch out in a variety of ways and implications, it is necessary here to keep in mind once again the personal and scientific context in which they arise, that is where they are conceived and elaborated as expressions of the speculative development of the personality of Brentano in the years immediately preceding Vatican Council I. In other words, it is necessary to grasp in its essential features the dense fabric of relationships that intervenes to connect the unitary and underlying needs of Brentano’s thought in the years of its formation and teaching in Würzburg, to be able to understand the various elements that make it up. Before trying to clarify the question of the method in Brentano, it is necessary, therefore, to keep in mind not only his dissent and the highly critical analyzes of Schelling, but also the further developments and the ex-positive reasons of his argument, in an attempt to identify a canon of speculative and historical justification of the correct method to be applied in philosophy. Here it is a question of the meaning and importance of his interest in Stagirita, that is, ultimately of Brentan’s attempt at a renewed rereading of Aristotle and his best medieval disciple and commentator.
But what is the meaning, in this context, of the return to Aristotle for Brentano? To answer this question it is necessary to keep in mind the various periods of the history of philosophy and the constants in the stages of rebirth and speculative luxuriance, comparing them with each other and, finally, obtaining indications for the future fourth period, to which the same Brentano hints here and there.