HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is addressed to students who already have some specific expertise and acquaintance with medieval philosophy. It aims to enhance students' capacity of making critical, informed and independent judgment especially in the field of medieval philosophy, their communication skills and continue learning (Descriptors III-V of Dublin). In particular, the course aims to provide students with the following knowledge and understanding skills (Descriptor I of Dublin): 1.1) detailed knowledge of the medieval philosophical, theological and scientific thought; 1.2) reading skills and in-depth understanding and comparison of the classics of medieval philosophy, both in the original Latin and in Italian translation; 1.3) critical assessment and comparison of the different interpretations of texts and topics, and of their significance for the historiography of medieval philosophy. The course also aims to provide students with the following abilities to apply the acquired knowledge and understanding skills (Descriptor II of Dublin): 2.1) writing of text-documented and argument-based papers, practice of oral expositions; 2.2) application to contemporary issues and debates of the methodology and the argumentative techniques developed in the historico-philosophical tradition.
No specific prerequisite. It is however recommended an acquaintance with the Latin and a good knowledge of the history of philosophy in general and of the history of ancient and medieval philosophy in particular.
Course contents summary
Title: "Siger of Brabant and the Soul/Body Problem". The course proposes to read and comment on the "Quaestiones in tertium De anima" and "De anima intellectiva" of Siger of Brabant, a philosopher active in Paris in the late thirteenth century. Among the many topics related to the text of Aristotle's "De Anima", the course will focus on two issues: the nature of the human soul and its relationship with the body, and the nature of the intellect. The course aims to reconstruct Siger's position on these issues and the controversy that took place between Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Siger himself.
1) Alberto Magno, "L'unità dell'intelletto", a cura di A. Rodolfi, Bompiani, Milano 2007.
2) Sigieri di Brabante, "Anima dell'uomo", a cura di A. Petagine. Bompiani, Milano 2007.
3) Tommaso d'Aquino, "Unità dell'intelletto", a cura di A. Ghisalberti, Bompiani, Milano 2000.
3) R.-A. Gauthier, "Notes sur Siger de Brabant. I. Siger en 1265", in "Revue ds Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques" 67 (1983), pp. 201-232.
4) R.-A. Gauthier, "Notes sur Siger de Brabant. II. Siger en 1272-1275", in "Revue ds Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques" 68 (1984), pp. 3-49.
5) F.-X. Putallaz-R. Imbach, "Professione filosofo: Sigieri di Brabante", Jaca Book, Milano 1999.
6) A. Petagine, "Aristotelismo difficile", Vita e Pensiero, Milano 2004.
7) M. Lenzi, "Anima, forma e sostanza: filosofia e teologia nel dibattito antropologico del XIII secolo", CISAM, Spoleto 2011.
Other bibliographical references and other texts will be indicated during the lessons.
Oral lessons. During the lessons the topics that will be discussed are those that fix the general contents of the course. Oral lessons will be supplemented by seminars reserved to the reading of medieval texts and discussion, and seminars of research, in which students will present their written essays.
Assessment methods and criteria
Students' knowledge and understanding skills, and their abilities to apply them, will be verified in two ways:
1) in itinere: compilation of a specialized written paper in which students will have to measure themselves with the philosophical and historical analysis of a text, a topic, or an article of secondary literature.
The written paper aims to test students’ ability to apply the acquired knowledge and understanding skills by writing a paper according to the international scientific standards.
The student is required to orally present and discuss the essay.
2) Final exam: oral examination based upon the texts of the bibliography, and with the discussion of the written paper.
The final exam aims to test the degree of advancement of students’ knowledge and understanding skills. Average duration of the examination is about one hour. The types of questions are determined by the features of students’ preparation and training that are required to be verified. In particular, the oral exam aims to verify: 1) the degree of students’ historical and philosophical knowledge, both with respect to the primary sources and to the philosophical historiography; 2) students’ ability to assess and compare texts, interpretations of texts, and historiographical theses; 3) the ability to understand, contextualize and analyze philosophical texts.
The final grade is the result of the written test and the oral exam. In order to obtain the passing grade it is required to get sufficiency in both tests. As to the written paper, the passing grade will be determined according to four parameters: 1) clearness and politeness of the paper; 2) the degree of textual, historical, philosophical, and historiographical documentation; 3) logical accuracy; 4) argumentative technique and philosophical reasoning. As to the oral examination, the passing grade will be determined according to three parameters: 1) speech clearness and accuracy; 2) critical thinking and independent judgment; 3) ability to analyze and contextualize a philosophical text.