cod. 1005302

Academic year 2013/14
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Storia della filosofia (M-FIL/06)
Storia della filosofia
Type of training activity
40 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: -
course unit
in - - -

Integrated course unit module: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT

Learning objectives

Within the context of the outlook offered in this advanced level course, it is required knowledge of contemporary philosophical issues, both in terms of their historical genesis as well as their current relevance (descrittore 1).
Conceptual analysis is aimed at clarifying the problem, the arguments offered and the conclusion developed by each author, with special attention given his interlocutors and critical debate of which he was part or gave rise to (descriptor 2). Skill in critique and autonomous formulation and treatment of problems are also developed (descriptor 3 e 5). The historical context in which each author developed his own views is constantly referred to, in order to show the relations between philosophy and society, philosophy and science, philosophy and culture (descriptor 3). Ability to comprehend the principal lines of argument of a philosophical text, including on the basis of lexical skills that make it possible to comprehend the relevance of given philosophical terms in given historical contexts.
Ability to orient oneself in the principal issues of the history of philosophy thanks to direct knowledge of the classics based on reading of the works. Ability to read works in at least one foreign language. The Italian translation will be checked and corrected through comparison with the critical German edition.
Knowledge of research techniques and bibliographic documentation.
Regular consultation of the main Italian and foreign philosophy journals to remain up-to-date on contemporary philosophical debate (descriptor 4 e 5). Ability to prepare a short critical essay on a philosophical topic or a review of a critical work (descriptor 4 e 5).
During lectures, students are asked to reflect upon a number of especially important issues and to offer their own explanations of read passages and interpretation of views. This also promotes independent thinking on the part of the student through questions and reading assignments. In addition, within each subject, students are asked to demonstrate their skills in understanding and argumentation by means of compiling essays on the subjects studied..


Knowledge of main tendencies in the history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the first half of the 20th century.
Direct knowledge of a number of philosophy texts, for example one of Plato’s dialogues, one of the books of Metaphysics by Aristotle, the Discourse on Cartesian method, a work or part of a work by Kant.
Knowledge of one foreign language and at least some terms of the Greek and German philosophical lexicon.

Course unit content

Lectures aim to examine authors, concepts, argumentations in their historical and cultural context. Students will be trained in the conceptual analysis of texts both from a theoretical-argumentative and from a philological-historical point of view. Students are invited to participate to the lessons by means of an interpretative contribute and by means of seminars and of texts for discussion. Topics and research projects are proposed with particular attention to
theoretical and methodological issues in the relationship between natural sciences and cultural sciences, to the concepts of value and valuation, to the relations between the distinction of general/universal and the distinction of particular/individual.
Students in this advanced level course will learn to read a philosophy text critically and to compare the Italian translation with the original language text, focusing on vocabulary and those passages that are especially important for comprehending the thought of the writer. Ability to access bibliographical documentation and keep abreast of current debate, including through regular consultation of philosophy journals.

Full programme

The course aims to provide a critical examination of the relations among phenomenology, constructivism and intuitionism in Ethics in the twentieth century. The course will examine some definitions of the notions of “value”, “person”, “virtue”, “conflict” and “emotion” in modern and contemporary philosophy. Parts of following texts will be examined with reference to main ethical theories.
M. Scheler, Ethical formalism and material Ethics of values, 1913
J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971

L. Fonnesu, Storia dell’etica contemporanea, Carocci, Roma 2006


M. Scheler, Ethical formalism and material Ethics of values, 1913-1916.
J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971.

Teaching methods

This advanced level course alternates classroom lectures with seminar sessions. Through detailed analysis of a major work in the history of thought – the translation of whose key passages are checked against the original text – students will become acquainted with a specific moment in the history of philosophy and the forms of conceptual analysis and argumentation used to take on a series of issues (descriptors 1, 2, 3). During the seminars, students will present in-depth readings they have done on their own and will also plan a written work (descriptors 4, 5).
In addition, works that (although not part of the final exam) are important for understanding the theoretical and historical relevance of the arguments covered, will be presented briefly. These works, such as critical essays, are made available to students who wish to study in more depth the arguments covered in the classroom.
At the start of the course students are informed that they will be required to produce a written work that may be: 1) a review of the principal arguments of one of the authors covered on the basis of first-hand reading of a work; 2) a discussion of one of the arguments presented during the course.

Assessment methods and criteria

Evaluation is based on ascertaining the student’s ability to comprehend and correctly present the principal topics and arguments covered during the course, the historical questions covered and the ability to grasp dilemmas and problematic aspects in the philosophical positions discussed.
Students will be asked to prepare an essay of their choice that examines one of the major topics focused on during course seminars. The examination provides an opportunity for further discussion and further dialogue with the professor. In this sense, students are also invited to examine particular subjects close to the topics of the lectures (descriptor 5).

Assessment criteria and assessment thresholds:
30 cum laude: Excellent, excellent solidity of knowledge, excellent expressive properties, excellent understanding of the concepts
30: Very good. Complete and adequate knowledge, well-articulated and correctly expressed
27-29: Good, satisfactory knowledge, essentially correct expression.
24-26: Fairly good knowledge, but not complete and not always correct.
22-23: Generally sufficient knowledge but superficial. Expression is often not appropriate and confused.
18-21: Sufficient. The expression and articulation of the speech show important gaps.

Other information

The type of issues covered in this course makes it possible each year to examine key moments in the history of thought of this period with special attention given to the fundamental moments in preceding historical periods.
Ability to comprehend the principal lines of argument of a philosophical text, including on the basis of lexical skills that make it possible to comprehend the relevance of given philosophical terms in given historical contexts.
Knowledge of the type of problems and the method of approaching them in philosophy in relation to precise historical and cultural contexts.