HISTORY OF IDEAS
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The discipline of History of Ideas studies the philosophical and scientific thought and its connections in the historical, political and even artistic fields. Its research is mainly carried out by reading and analysing classic texts of Western thought. The aim is reaching a full understanding and evaluation of the texts, also referring on critical literature. In other words, History of Ideas is a philosophical subject on an interdisciplinary basis, and it allows to discover the connections between different fields. So it contributes to the achievement of independence of judgment and also provides the conceptual tools to consider and evaluate the complex contemporary issues. The aims of the course include a critical approach to philosophical concepts and to the texts, to be able to explain the content of them and discuss them, and ultimately to strengthen the ability to learn .
None specific competence required. It is required some general knowledge of the major historical events and philosophical movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Course contents summary
History of Ideas (M-Fil/06) 6 cfu
The course will be devoted to the study of the conception of Ancient World as “savage”, according to the thought of Nietzsche, and also of Frazer and Freud (and other scholars like Burckhardt, Rohde, and the so-called Cambridge Ritualists). The idea of Greece as a rational and harmonious culture was completely changed by them. They pointed out the original wild and irrational substrate in our civilization, and they contributed to understand permanent conflictual contradictions of human species.
- F. Nietzsche, La nascita della tragedia, Milano, Adelphi 2000 (§ ‘Tentativo di Autocritica’ and chapters. 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, and conclusion of chapters 24 and 25).
- J.G. Frazer, Il ramo d’oro, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2012 (chapters 1, 2, 29, 30, 32, 35, 43, 68, 69)
- S. Freud, Totem e tabù, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2011 (chapters IV, § 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
- E. Rohde, Psyche, Bari, Laterza 2006 (pp. 11-37, 277-323, 355-378, 448-459, 464-471), or 1970 (pp. 1-37; 337-395, 435-467, 559-571, 578-587).
- G. Scarpelli, Ingegno e congegno, Roma, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura 2011 (chapters 3,4,5).
- G. Scarpelli, La scimmia, l’uomo e il Superuomo. Nietzsche: evoluzioni e involuzioni, Milano, Mimesis 2008 (chapters1,3,4,5).
- G. Cocchiara, Storia del folklore in Europa, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2016 (pp. 397-414).
More readings (one text chosen from the following groups):
- Apollodoro, Biblioteca, Milano, Adelphi, 2004 (pp. 3-164).
- J. Burckhardt, Storia della civiltà greca. Vol. 1, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2010 (100 pages at your choice).
- F. Nietzsche, Il servizio divino dei greci, Milano Adelphi 2016.
- F.M. Cornford, Dalla religione alla filosofia, Lecce, Argo 2002 (200 pages at your choice)
- E. R. Dodds, I greci e l’irrazionale, Milano, BUR 2009 (chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
- G. Guidorizzi, La trama segreta del mondo. La magia nell’antichità, Bologna, Il Mulino 2015.
- D. Susanetti,La via degli dèi. Sapienza greca, misteri antichi e percorsi di iniziazione, Roma, Carocci 2017.
- C. Gentili, G. Garelli, Il tragico, Bologna, il Mulino 2010 (200 pages at your choice).
- Y. Oudai Celso, Freud e la filosofia antica, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2006.
- M.M. Sassi, Gli inizi della filosofia: in Grecia, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2009 (chapters 1,2,3).
- W. Burkert, La creazione del sacro. Orme biologiche nell’esperienza religiosa, Milano, Adelphi 2004 (150 pages at your choice).
Recommended readings (not required):
- A. La Vergata, F. Trabattoni, Filosofia, cultura e cittadinanza, Firenze, La Nuova Italia 2011 (the chapters on Nietzsche, Freud etc.).
- G. Ugolini, Guida alla Nascita della Tragedia, Bari, Laterza 2007.
- B.B. Powell, Omero, Bologna, Il Mulino 2006.
- S. Price, Le religioni dei greci, Bologna, Il Mulino 2002.
- J.G. Frazer, Sulle tracce di Pausania, Milano, Adelphi 1994.
- R. Graves, La dea bianca, Milano, Adelphi, 2009.
Frontal lessons. Lecture and discussion of texts. Furthermore it will be shown a film illustrating historical aspects of the course. Special emphasis will be given to in-class reading of, and commenting on, original texts, in order for students to familiarise with different kinds of philosophical language, style, and argument.
Assessment methods and criteria
Final oral examination. It will be judged the level of learning, the ability to discuss the contents of the course and the critical analysis of the texts, and lexical competences. In other words, the examination will verify the critical ability to analyse philosophical ideas and their critical interpretations. Finally the student will also be expected to demonstrate that it has reached an adequate understanding of the texts and literary criticism, and a certain ability of judgment, in order to provide a satisfactory overview of their qualities as learning, communication and connection of the philosophical concepts, in a given historical, philosophical, political, or scientific context
Some more materials will be provided during the course, including the screening of a film.