cod. 1006604

Academic year 2018/19
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Filosofia e teoria dei linguaggi (M-FIL/05)
Istituzioni di filosofia
Type of training activity
36 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

1-Knowledge and understanding
The course presents a survey of the major positions of the contemporary debate on the philosophy of perception and of the main theoretical options there are for future research.

2-Applying Knowledge and understanding
Students will be trained to recognize, reformulate, and criticize arguments with the goal to acquire the skills necessary for doing philosophical research.

3-4-5 Making judgments, communication and learning skills
Students are invited to prepare the texts autonomously so as to be able to present the main arguments in short presentations in class. Guidance during their preparing and writing the term paper will allow them to develop the skills necessary to participate autonomously in the philosophical debate and to learn and enlarge their knowledge in an autonomous way.


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Course unit content

Naturalism is one of the dominant positions in contemporary philosophy of mind and epistemology. In the course we will analyse and contrast different forms of naturalism. We will discuss whether and, if yes, how an explanation of the human mind can be reduced to an explanation of the human body and how knowledge and normative aspects of epistemology are anchored in nature. The discussion will always pay attention to the different conceptions of nature that are operative in the debate and to the relation between philosophical and scientific explanation.

Full programme

The extended program can be found at the course web-site on


Sellars, Wilfrid: "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man", in: Science, Perception and Reality, Atascadero: Ridgeview, 1–40.

Quine, W.V.O.: Wilfrid Sellars: "Epistemology Naturalized" ,” in: Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, New York: Columbia University Press, 69–90.

De Caro, Mario e David Macarthur (eds): Naturalism in Question. Harvard University Press, 2004.

Teaching methods

During the meetings we will analyse a series of texts. There will be ample room for discussing the various aspects that emerge from the texts. The success of the course will depend essentially on the students’ active participation in discussion and they are encouraged to share their interests, doubts, and perplexities with the others. Students who are not able to assist the meetings in class will be able to follow the course via internet (

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists in writing a short term-paper (10-12 pages ca.) in which the student shows their competences in formulating and discussing in an argumentative way a specific philosophical problem (in the field of the philosophy of perception), to reconstruct and contrast relevant arguments that have bee proposed by the philosophers discussed in class with the goal to draft a text that is informative for a non-expert reader. Students are invited to pay attention to the own expressive tools, to the coherent use of technical terminology, the cogency of the argument and a concise style.
The oral part of the exam consists in a discussion of the term paper.


30 e lode: excellent, profound knowledge, excellent expressive capacities, complete comprehension of the relevant concepts and arguments
30: very good, complete and adequate knowledge, good discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
27-29: good, an acceptable degree of knowledge, acceptable discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
24-26: mediocre level of knowledge, though incomplete and not not always correct.
21-23: basic, though superficial knowledge. Inadequate discursive competences with respect to the topic of the course.
18-21: sufficient
Below 18: insufficient. Very imcomplete knowledge, presentation unclear, incomplete comprehension of the basic concepts and arguments.

Other information

The lectures of the course will be given in English, but students are free to ask questions or contribute to discussion in Italian. (Students who do not have sufficient knowledge of English can determine, together with the instructor, an alternative program for the exam -- in analogy to students who are not able to frequent classes)