cod. 1008052

Academic year 2021/22
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Storia della filosofia antica (M-FIL/07)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Purpose of education is to provide a more complete picture of the
educational and philosophical thought in mind throughout the ancient philosophy, which, notoriously, goes from the sixth century BC to the 5th-6th century AD, both are charged that Christian. Educational processes will be considered present and been consolidated in ancient times paidéia the formation of man and of the citizen. So we'll talk about the medical education, of scientific education in General: psychological, physical and moral logic, metaphysics, that the various authors and the various philosophical schools have developed over the so-called Socratic periods: presocratico, , classic of Plato and Aristotle, to the Hellenistic period, epicure, stoic, skeptic, medioplatonico and neoplatonic, Christian, pagan who to reach both P.roclus and Simplicius


No prerequisite is required.

Course unit content

Time, space, change, matter, elements, causes, atoms, active and passive principles, lunar world, sublunar world, sensitive world. These are the main topics addressed by the "physical" sphere of ancient philosophy. This theme arises at the origins of philosophical thought, in the so-called Presocratic period, during which both "monist" and "pluralist" scholars, such as Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, or Empedocles and Anaxagoras introduce terms such as: water, air, earth and fire which qualify 'the' or 'the' original principles of the universe in its entirety. Pythagoras will attribute the principle of things to “numbers”, conceived in an arithmometric-geometric way; while the Atomists Leucippus and Democritus will speak of "atoms", endowed with size, shape and weight. With Plato, matter takes on a completely passive, chaotic and disordered connotation, but necessary, non-being, power, which faces the world of true reality which is that of ideas. To give order to this original chaos in "Timèo" we come to hypothesize a divine artificer, the Demiurge. And time for him is nothing more than a moving image of the eternal. Furthermore, the sensitive space is made up of the classic four elements, conceived, in the Pythagorean manner, as regular polyhedra on a triangular base. Aristotle is the true scholar of the physical world of antiquity. His works concern animals, plants, the sky, meteorology, generation and corruption, meaning, memory, sleep, dreams, the length and brevity of life, eg. in the “Parva naturalia”, in the “Physics”, in the “De coelo”, in the “De generatione et corridione”. For him, movement is the passage from power to act and time is nothing more than the measure of movement according to the before and after.
In the Hellenistic-Roman period the two dominant philosophies are: Epicureanism and Stoicism. Both are sensitive and materialistic philosophies. For Epicurus, physics is taken up from the atomism of Democritus, with an important corrective on the fall of the atoms that make up the universe. In other words, it introduces the “parenclisis”, the deviation of atoms in free vertical fall, to justify the freedom of choice. For Stoicism there is an active Principle, the creator and provident Fire that creates the universe by modeling the passive principle of matter. Everything is Fate and necessity. When "the great year" arrives, the world is destroyed by fire, but it returns as it is in the cycle of eternal return. For Plotinus the sensitive universe derives from the necessary decay of the Soul of the world up to the last fringe of being which is matter. In Augustine the world is no longer emanated from the Plotinian intelligible triad, but created freely by God from nothing: “ex nihilo sui et subiecti” and has different degrees of perfection, all of which are good. Time is both cosmological time and "distensio animi".

Full programme

- - -


- reading at least one manual for high schools on Ancient "physical" philosophy, from Thales to Saint Augustine (in the absence of his own, I would suggest: REALE-ANTISERI, History of philosophical ideas., vol. I, La Scuola, Brescia) ;
- lectures and exercises in the classroom or via the internet.


For information, I list some of the main stories of philosophy
Ancient, university level, available in Italian:

L. ROBIN, History of Greek thought, Mondadori, Milan 1978 ff .;
G. REALE, History of Ancient Philosophy (there are various editions: from
that, in five volumes, published by Vita e Pensiero, Milan 1990 ff., a
the one, in a single volume, entitled History of Greek and Roman philosophy,
published by Bompiani, Milan 2004 ff. );
N. ABBAGNANO - G. FORNERO, History of Ancient Philosophy., Utet,
Turin 2017 ff .;
AA. VV., History of Ancient Philosophy, in 4 vols., Edited, respectively, by M. BONAZZI, F. TRABATTONI, E. SPINELLI, R. CHIARADONNA, Carocci, Rome 2016-2018 ff .;
A. KENNY, New History of Western Philosophy, vol. 1, Ancient Philosophy, Einaudi, Turin 2012 ff .;
E. LAMANNA, History of Ancient Philosophy, Le Monnier, Florence 1989 ff .;
L. GEYMONAT, History of philosophical and scientific thought, vol. I, Garzanti, Milan 1970 ff .;
F. ADORNO, Ancient philosophy, Feltrinelli, Milan 1977 ff .;
G. DE RUGGIERO, History of ancient philosophy, Universale Laterza, 2 vols., Laterza, Bari 1980 ff.
Some anthologies of commented passages on ancient philosophy could also be useful. I mention only two:
M. BONAZZI, L. CARDULLO, G. CASERTANO, E. SPINELLI, F. TRABATTONI (edited by), Ancient Philosophy, Cortina, Milan 2005 ff .;
D. FISH, Ancient Philosophy Texts., Vol. I of his History of Philosophy,
Principality, Florence 1995 ff.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars, if possible, with discussions of texts and topics specific to the course and classroom by internet; presentation of chapters or parts of books in the bibliography by internet.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination. Evaluation criteria: 18 thresholds, 27, 30, 24, of 30 and praise will be reached, respectively, following a good, decent and good enough understanding of the topics covered; and a similar enough, fair, good, excellent clarity and proficiency in the use of specialist vocabulary. The threshold of praise will add elements of originality or particular deepening of topics covered

Other information

Program and verification of learning mode are the same for students attending and not attending.