THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF ACTION (Integr)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
This course offers in-depth knowledge of some crucial problems in theoretical philosophy, such as identity and the metaphysics of agency. It aims to provide adequate analityc, logic and argumentative skills. In particular, it aims to train to critically assess theories and models of rationality. Seminars are devoted to train students to build valid arguments and assess their logical tenability. (Descriptor I)
To this purpose, students are strongly encouraged to participate to class discussion with a presentation about a critical review of a chapter in bibliography, and a final essay with a critical and argumentative account of the philosophical problem chosen. (Descriptor II)
To further develop argumentative and communication skills, there will be a workshop in philosophical writing. (Descriptor IV)
Course contents summary
This course concerns a fundamental problem in theoretical philosophy, that is, the role of normative principles in the explanation and justification of action. The first module addresses this problem in the recent theories of rationality, including Kantian constructivism, Robert Nozick and Jon Elster.The second module, concerns recent theories of rational norms as grounds of shared agency and agency through time, including Michael Bratman ,C. Bicchieri, and Thomas Nagel.
1.Bagnoli, C. Che fare? Nuove prospettive filosofiche sull’azione, Carocci, Roma, 2013, Introduzione e cap. 3.
2.Elster, J. Ulysses Unbound Cambridge University Press, 2000, (anche in traduzione italiana, Ulisse liberato, Il Mulino).
3.Nozick, R. The Nature of Rationality, Princeton University Press, 1993 (anche in traduzione italiana, La natura della razionalità, Feltrinelli, Milano-
4.Nagel, T. The Possibility of Altruism, Princeton University Press, 1971 (anche in traduzione italiana, La possibilità dell’altruismo, Il Mulino, Bologna)
5.Bratman, M. Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together, Oxford University Press, 2014.
6.Bicchieri, C. The Grammar of Society: The Nature and Dynamics of Social Norms, Cambridge University Press 2006.
Lectures and seminars.
Lectures offer a critical analysis of problems and philosophical texts.
Seminars are devoted to three kinds of activities:
a) class discussion of texts and arguments of the course
b) students’ presentations consisting in a critical account of a chapter in bibliography
c) workshop in philosophical communication and writing
Assessment methods and criteria
Course 12 credits (2 modules)
Students with regular attendance:
• Final essay of 6000 words (bibliography excluded) in Italian or English), on a topic chosen in consultation with the professor. Outline of the paper must be in English.
• Oral examination on the main topics of the course and defense of the final essay.
For students not attending classes:
• Oral examination on the full bibliography of the course.
• Final essay of 6000 words (bibliography excluded) in Italian or English), on a topic assigned by the instructor.
NB For Module II (in English) students are required to present the final essay or an outline of the final essay in English.
International Students have the opportunity to be examined in English. (All other requirements above apply)
Criteria of Evaluation
Threshold for 18: sufficient comprehension of the topics, sufficient expository clarity and sufficient competence in the use of the philosophical vocabulary.
Threshold for 24: discrete comprehension of the topics, discrete expository clarity and discrete competence in the use of the philosophical vocabulary.
Threshold for 27: good comprehension of the topics, good expository clarity and good competence in the use of the philosophical vocabulary.
Threshold for 30: excellent comprehension of the topics, excellent expository clarity and excellent competence in the use of the philosophical vocabulary.
Threshold for 30 cum laude: as for 30, plus elements of originality (e.g. critical assessment of the course topics or new personal contribution to them) and/or particularly in-depth analysis of the course topics.
The mark obtained in one of the modules of the present course will count 50% of the overall mark. (The other 50% will be the mark obtained in the module of the course with which students will take the integrated course).