HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
In-depth knowledge of philosophical thought and its historical, scientific and political contexts.
Comprehension and analysis of philosophical texts.
Critical evaluation and comparison of different interpretations of texts.
Application of knowledge methodology so acquired, and of argumentative techniques to contemporary issues.
Ability to apply the acquired methods when writing historically documented discussion and research papers.
None. However, students had better have a general, high-school level knowledge of the main political events in world history between the seventeenth century and the First World Wa
Course contents summary
Theories of war and peace
An overview of ideas and doctrines of war and peace since the beginning of the Modern Age (approximately since the XVIIth century), with special emphasis on authors including Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Spencer, Tolstoj, William James, Freud, Gandhi, Bobbio. Ethological and sociobiological theories of aggression will also be discussed.
In addition to the subjects treated in the texts listed above, information will be provided during the course on major authors and movements in the history of ideas on peace and war: e.g. XVIIth-century writers on natural rights, Kant, Hegel, Romantic nationalism, Tolstoj, Bertrand Russell. nature
For Unit 1 (in Italian)
Norberto Bobbio, Il problema della guerra e le vie della pace, Bologna, il Mulino, 4th ed., 1997;
Daniel Pick, War Machine. The Rationalization of Slaughter in the Modern Age, New Have, Yale University Press, 1993
and one of the following:
Antonello La Vergata, Guerra e darwinismo sociale, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2005;
Antonello La Vergata, Colpa di Darwin? Razzismo, eugenetica, guerra e altri mali, Torino, UTET, 2009
For Unit 2 (in English)
Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, The Biology of Peace and War, London, Thames and Hudson, 1979;
Sigmund Freud, Untimely Meditations on Death and War and Correspondence with Albert Einstein on War and Peace (both available in many editions);
M. K. Gandhi, Selected texts provided by the teacher;
William James, The Moral Equivalent of War, in The Will to Believe and Other Essays (many editions available);
Herbert Spencer, The Study of Sociology, London, King, 1873 (sections on war);
Id., The Principles of Sociology, London, Williams & Norgate, 1876-1897 (sections on war).
P. Crook, Darwinism, War and History. The Debate over the Biology of War from the “Origin of Species” to the First World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Further reading will be suggested during the course. Some texts will be provided by the teacher.
Unit 1 (in Italian)
Introductory lectures by the teacher (30 hours, 6 CFU)
Unit 2 (in English)
In-class reading and comment on selected texts, followed by discussion in seminar form. In addition, each student will be asked to select a text from a list proposed by the teacher (not including texts in the general bibliography of the course) and to discuss it in an oral or written (max. 1,500 words) presentation, according to his/her choice. In case of oral presentation, it will be held during the course, and will be followed by a discussion between all participants.
Assessment methods and criteria
Short papers, oral or written, during the course (in Italian for Unit 1, in English for Unit 2).
Final examination at end of course (half in Italian, half in English).
Final marks will be determined by marks for paper (25%) and marks for oral examination at end of course (75%).
Papers will be graded according to the following criteria:
a) clear presentation;
b) ability of critical analysis;
c) ability to contextualise.
The same criteria will be adopted for the final examination. In addition, students will have to show an ability to connect critical analysis of different texts within a general framework, and to develop their own discourse.
Linguistic skills in English will not be taken into consideration, provided the student is able to express his meaning, and that of authors discussed, unambiguously, that is in such a way as to make discussion fruitful.
The course will be held in the second semester of the academic year 2016/2017. Attending lectures and seminars is not obligatory, but recommended. Students not attending them will be requested to prepare their paper (see above, “Teaching Methods”) in written form and to submit it to the teacher at least three weeks before the exam session of their choice.