Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the class students will be able to:
Analyze, interpret, and question critically complex philosophical texts; identify logical, argumentative, methodological and historical connections in the texts;
Develop and communicate both orally and in written form ethical and civic problems that are critical for teaching and educational professions as well as professions involving the production of texts;
Formulate autonomous and motivated judgments concerning fundamental ethical problems; engage rationally different positions; develop connections with current ethical issues;
Organize a written paper on a topic covered in class. The paper will show argumentative skills, autonomy of judgment and knowledge of editing techniques for a written text (table of contents, subdivision in sections, footnotes, bibliography, etc.).
Course contents summary
The relationship between thinking and action in H. Arendt’s ethical and political reflection.
The class focuses on the Hanna Arendt’s late ethical reflection through a close reading of her least known work: The Life of the Mind. Arendt’s reflection takes its cue from the conundrums raised by the moral and political disaster of totalitarianism and it yields a problematic conception of the relationship between inner life (the activities of the mind) and public agency (personal and political responsibility).
After analyzing action in Vita Activa and setting it up against thought, in her last work Arendt renews her interrogation of thinking and action, responsibility and judgment, individual conscience and public life. The class will follow Arendt’s itinerary, which probe the depths of her fortunate expression “banality of evil” and sets the stage for what has been variously defined an “ethics of thinking”, “ethics of responsibility”, “ethics of visibility”. Students are expected to download the course materials and check the instructor’s messages on the Elly portal.
H. Arendt, La vita della mente, Il Mulino, Bologna 2009.
H. Arendt, Vita activa. La condizione umana,Bompiani, Milano, qualsiasi edizione;
H.Arendt, Alcune questioni di filosofia morale, Einaudi, Torino 2015 (pubblicato anche in H.Arendt, Responsabilità e giudizio, a cura di J.Kohn, Piccola biblioteca Einaudi, Torino 2010);
Bethania Assy, Etica, responsabilità e giudizio in H.Arendt, Mimesis, Milano 2015;
M. Abensour, H. Arendt contro la filosofia politica?, Jaka Book, Milano 2010.
S. Forti, H. Arendt tra filosofia e politica, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2006.
S.Forti, I nuovi demoni. Ripensare oggi male e potere,Feltrinelli, Milano 2012.
Students who cannot attend all the class may benefit from the following readings as general introductions to the class topics: M.De Caro, Azione, Il Mulino, Bologna 2008. E. Young-Bruehl, H.Arendt: perché ci riguarda, Einaudi, Torino 2009
Reading and discussion of texts
Classes are taught in the “blended” form and are available online for students who are unable to attend in person.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam includes a written and an oral component.
(50% of the final grade) At the end of the class the student will submit a written paper (12-14 pages) discussing a topic of interest covered in class and agreed upon with the instructor. Specific indications about how to write the paper will be published on Elly, along with course materials. The paper is grade on a 0-30 scale. In case of a negative evaluation the student will have to re-write the paper.
(50% of the final grade) The oral exam consists in a discussion of the written paper and in a few questions geared toward testing the understanding of the topics covered in class.
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.
The lectures will be recorded in the “blended” mode and will be available online for students who are unable to attend. The course materials will be uploaded on Elly during the class and will be consider integral to the final exam. The instructor is available for further theoretical and methodological clarification during office hours and by appointment.