THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course presents a survey of the major positions of the contemporary debate on self-knowledge and of the main theoretical options there are for future research.
Students will be trained to recognize, reformulate, and criticize arguments with the goal to acquire the skills necessary for doing philosophical research.
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.
Course contents summary
The course will focus on the contemporary debate on the structure of the content of perceptual experience, its epistemic relevance (how can perception contribute to our knowledge?) and its phenomenological aspects (what is the role of the qualitative aspect of experience).
In particular we will analyze the debate on non-conceptual content of perception, the relation between perception and language, the question of whether perceptual experience has a content and the role of perception in our conscious mental life.
Reading of various contributions to the contemporary debate, starting with the book "Mind and World" by John McDowell. The detailed course bibliography will be communicated at the beginning of classes.
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 (the specifics of the online-platform will be announced).
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 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.