THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1-Knowledge and understanding
The course presents a survey of the major positions of the contemporary debate on naturalism 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.
Course contents summary
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.
The course bibliography will be announced at the beginning of the course.
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 self-knowledge), 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.