CHRISTIAN AND MEDIEVAL HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is addressed to students who already have some general
acquaintance with medieval philosophy. It aims to enhance students'
capacity of developing critical, informed and independent judgment
especially in the field of medieval philosophy, their communication skills
and continuing education (Dublin Descriptors III, IV, and V). In particular,
the course aims to provide students with the following knowledge and
understanding skills (Dublin Descriptor I): 1.1) detailed knowledge of the
medieval philosophy, theology and science; 1.2) reading skills and indepth understanding and comparison of the classics of medieval
philosophy, both in Latin and in Italian translation; 1.3) critical
assessment of the different interpretations of medieval 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 (Dublin Descriptor
II): 2.1) composition of documented and argument-based papers, practice of oral exposition; 2.2) application of the methodology, knowledge, and argumentative techniques developed in the historico-philosophical tradition to contemporary issues and debates.
No specific prerequisite. However, it is recommended the
knowledge of Latin and a good acquaintance with the history of
philosophy in general and with the history of ancient and medieval
philosophy in particular.
Course contents summary
Title: "The "Summa logicae" of William of Ockham". The course is devoted to the reading of the Part I of the "Summa logicae" and to the reconstruction of the main topics of Ockham's semantics and philosophy of language: from his theory of terms and propositions to his doctrine of concepts and universals. Classes will be alternated with seminars. Seminars will require the active participation of students and will be organized in collaboration with Italian and foreign colleagues.
The " Summa logicae " of William of Ockham is considered one of the most important texts of medieval philosophy and an exhaustive treatment not only of Ockham's logic, but also of late-medieval logic in general. The course proposes to read and discuss some significant portions of the first part of the work, focusing on Ockham 's theory of terms and propositions (on their classification, their properties, etc. ), and on his doctrine of concepts and universals.
1) Guglielmo di Ockham, "Logica dei termini", a cura di
P. Müller, Rusconi, Milano 1992.
2) P. Müller, "La logica di Ockham", Vita e Pensiero, Milano 2012.
3) A. Ghisalberti, "Introduzione a Ockham", Laterza, Roma-bari 1976.
Further readings to deepen the knowledge of Ockham's philosophy in general and of his semantics and philosophy of language in particular:
- P. V. Spade, "Thoughts, Words and Things: An Introduction to Late Mediaeval Logic and Semantic Theory", disponibile online al seguente indirizzo: http://pvspade.com/Logic/docs/thoughts1_1a.pdf.
- C. Panaccio, "Les mots, les concepts et les choses
La sémantique de Guillaume d’Occam et le nominalisme d’aujourd’hui", Bellarmin-Vrin, Montréal-Paris 1992.
- P. V. Spade (ed.), "The Cambridge Companion to Ockham", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999.
Oral lessons. During the classes the topics that will be discussed are
those of the general contents of the course. Oral lessons will be
supplemented by seminars devoted to the reading and discussion of
medieval texts, and research seminars, to which students are invited
to participate actively.
Assessment methods and criteria
Students' knowledge and understanding skills, and their abilities to apply
them, will be verified in two ways:
1) in itinere: elaboration of a written paper in which students are
requested to analyze (philosophically and historically) a text, a topic or
an article of secondary literature. The written paper aims to verify students’ ability to apply the acquired
knowledge and understanding skills by elaborating a paper according to
international scientific standards. Student must present and discuss their papers orally.
2) Final examination: oral exam based upon the texts of the bibliography, and with the discussion of the written paper.
The final exam aims to verify 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’ education and learning that need to be verified. In particular,the oral exam aims to verify: 1) the degree of students’ historical and philosophical formation and preparation, both with respect to the primary sources and the secondary literature; 2) students’ ability to assess and compare texts, interpretations of texts, and historiographical theses; 3) the ability to understand, analyze, and contextualize philosophical texts.
The final score is the result of the written paper and the oral exam. The written paper will be evaluated according to four criteria: 1) clearness and accuracy of the paper; 2) the
degree of textual, historical, philosophical, and historiographical
documentation; 3) logical precision; 4) argumentation technique and
philosophical reasoning. The oral exam will be
evaluated according to three criteria: 1) speech clearness and accuracy;
2) critical thinking and independent judgment; 3) ability to analyze and
contextualize a philosophical text and/or a problem.