Philosophical Anthropology (PREFIT - AREA C)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the class the student will:
1. Read and master the basic vocabulary of anthropological and philosophical reflection on topics such as human personhood, animality and humanity, origin, structure, and diversity of cultures, technology and the transformation of the human being.
2. Apply the concepts learned in class on events and problems characterizing contemporary society.
3. Take a stance lucidly and on the basis of arguments on anthropological issues pertaining to the topics examined in class.
4. Converse and debate on the topics discussed in class making explicit references to the vocabulary and the argumentative strategies of the philosophical tradition.
5. Read and understanding autonomously complex philosophical texts on philosophical anthropology.
Course contents summary
Philosophical anthropology emerged as a tradition of thought in early twentieth century Germany. In the wake of a pluralization of disciplinary perspectives on the human being and parallel to the demise of religious and secular certainties, philosophical anthropology aimed at a renewal of fundamental questions about the human being with the aid of both scientific discoveries and specifically philosophical methods, such as phenomenology. The class will introduce students to the key figures and questions of philosophical anthropology with particular attention to the image of the human being delivered by the natural sciences and its limits, the difference and continuity between human and non-human animals, interpersonal relations in both its natural and cultural dimensions, the advent of technology and its impact on the transformation of the human being.
During the first week of class we will introduce the discipline of philosophical anthropology by reference to classical figures such as Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner and Arnold Gehlen. We will focus on the insufficiency of a naturalistic image of the human being and on the possibility to determine what makes humans unique within the natural universe. During the second week we will discuss so-called "anthropological difference", i.e., the difference between human and non-human animals. The third week will be devoted to the nature of interpersonal relations and the plurality of worldviews. The fourth and last week will deal with the human/technology relationship, a topic that features prominently in the contemporary debate.
1. Max Scheler, La posizione dell’uomo nel cosmo. A cura di G. Cusinato. Milano: Franco Angeli, 2009.
2. Carmine Di Martino, Viventi umani e non umani. Tecnica, linguaggio, memoria. Raffaello Cortina, 2017.
3. Integrative texts available online on ELLY.
The class will include (1) frontal lectures devoted to the reading and interpretation of key texts; (2) discussion sessions focusing on current problems and concrete cases; (3) seminars featuring invited international scholars specializing on the topics under scrutiny.
Assessment methods and criteria
The oral examination aims to verify knowledge of philosophical anthropology acquired through class attendance, the study of texts and bibliography, the ability to contextualize them in historical and philosophical tradition; the level of critical assimilation of conceptual contents; the property and the adequacy of linguistic expression; skills in autonomous argumentation.
Assessment criteria and assessment thresholds:
30 cum laude: Excellent, excellent solidity of knowledge, excellent expressive properties, excellent understanding of the concepts
30: Very good. Complete and adequate knowledge, well-articulated and correctly expressed
27-29: Good, satisfactory knowledge, essentially correct expression.
24-26: Fairly good knowledge, but not complete and not always correct.
22-23: Generally sufficient knowledge but superficial. Expression is often not appropriate and confused.
18-21: Sufficient. The expression and articulation of the speech show important gaps.
<18: insufficient knowledge or very incomplete, lack of guidance in discipline, expression seriously deficient. Exam failed.