cod. 1009180

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
Andrea Sebastiano STAITI
Academic discipline
Filosofia morale (M-FIL/03)
Istituzioni di filosofia
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

By the end of the class the student will be able to (in accordance with the Dublin indicators):

1. Understand the challenges of contemporary ethics and appreciate some of the most prominent philosophical solutions.
2. Apply the concepts acquired by the thinkers examined in class to other areas of ethical reflection.
3. Develop a critical perspective on contemporary ethics.
4. Present in clear and argumentative manner the philosophical positions discussed in class and master at least the rudiments of philosophical discussion in English.
5. Read and comprehend autonomously complex philosophical texts devoted to ethical reflection.


Basic knowledge of methods and topics of moral philosophy, as well as proficiency in the English language are pre-requisites for this class.

Course unit content

This class aims to explore a series of topics revolving around the problems concerning the relationship between ethical reflection and natural world as described and categorized by the natural sciences. We will devote attention to issues in contemporary metaethics and theories of consciousness and action, primarily in dialogue with the phenomenological tradition.

Full programme


What is the unconscious? Is it possible to account for it in purely naturalistic terms? How can Husserlian phenomenology contribute to a clarification of psychoanalysis, which is apparently opposed to an intentional and evidential conception of consciousnsess? What are the ethical implications of the study of phenomena that transcend subjective awareness? These questions will constitute the guiding thread for a seminar-style class centered on the reading and discussion of contemporary texts at the intersection of phenomenology and psychoanalysis.


1. Nicholas Smith, Towards a Phenomenology of Repression – A Husserlian Reply to the Freudian Challenge (PDF)

2. Rudolf Bernet, Force, Drive, Desire
A Philosophy of Psychoanalysis (Northwestern University Press: Evanston IL 2020) (PDF)

3 Legrand/Trigg (eds.), Unconsciousness Between Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis (Springer: Dordrecht 2017) (PDF)

4. Lohmar/Brudzinska (eds.), Founding Psychoanalysis Phenomenologically
Phenomenological Theory of Subjectivity and the Psychoanalytic Experience (Springer: Dordrecht 2012)

Teaching methods

Frontal lecture, seminar-style discussion, discussion with invited international experts.

Assessment methods and criteria

One written research paper on a topic to be determined with the instructor. Alternatively, students may require to be examined orally in English or Italian after submitting a two-page critical discussion in English of one of the texts discussed in class.

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.
<18: insufficient knowledge or very incomplete, lack of guidance in discipline, expression seriously deficient. Exam failed.

Other information

The research paper topic must be discussed in person with the instructor. The determination of the research paper topic should happen a good while before the chosen examination date, in order to have enough time to write the paper and have it linguistically copy-edited.