HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to develop a path that, through the direct study of the texts, allow critical understanding of a central theme in the history of
modern and contemporary political philosophy. The intertwining of conceptual study, historical reconstruction and analysis of classical texts
would in fact allow the student the development of complex philosophical skills.
Course contents summary
NATURAL RIGHT AND SOCIAL CONTRACT IN THE XVII CENTURY PHILOSOPHY : HOBBES, SPINOZA, LOCKE
Through the presentation and discussion of some classic texts of modern political philosophy, the course will analyze the main theoretical concepts
(natural state / civil status, sovereignty, representation, state, freedom, democracy, equality, etc.) of political philosophy condensed in the tradition of modern natural law , in the light of the crisis of late medieval universalism and of the Aristotelian-scholastic paradigm of the political
order. In the seventeenth century began to change all concepts that, in the long tradition of European thought, have denoted the philosophy and
politics. Thus we can assist to the formation of a new constellation of concepts, which assume a rational and individual perspective: in
particular, the sovereign power is constituted as an artificial artificially legitimate power through a process of rationalization and disciplining of
human passions. This process can realize itself through the transfer of the rights in the representative person (the modern State, holder of the monopoly of legitimate coercion). The anchoring of the course to the direct study of the texts will allow organization of teaching as a seminar.
The course will be divided into four parts. The first part will present the general historical and philosophical framework related to the concepts of
political philosophy between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the second part, some chapters of Hobbes's "Leviathan" will be read and
commented. In the third part we will read and comment on some chapters of Spinoza's "Theological-Political Treaty". In the fourth part,
some chapters of Locke's "Second Treaty on Government" will be read and commented, thus establishing comparisons (similarities and
differences) between the main philosophical-political categories presented by the three authors.
Th. HOBBES, Leviatano (ch. XIII-XXVI).
B. SPINOZA, Trattato teologico-politico (ch. XVI-XVII, XX).
J. LOCKE, Il secondo trattato sul governo (ch. II-V, VII-XIII).
N. BOBBIO, Società e Stato nella filosofia politica moderna (Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1984), pp. 15-117.
Students not attending will have to study, in addition to the texts mentioned in the bibliography, the following text: Leo Strauss - Che cos'è
la filosofia politica? (Il Melangolo).
Seminar lectures with reading, presentation, interpretation and discussion of the classical texts, also through the reconstruction of the main historical-philosophical questions.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final test - oral exam - will focus on the texts examined during the lessons. Essential part of the exam consists in the historical-critical discussion of these texts.
30 cum laude: excellent, solid knowledge, excellent written and oral argumentative ability, complete comprehension of concepts and
arguments; active participation in lectures and discussion in the classroom;
30: very good, complete and adequate knowledge, correct and adequate expression skills; frequency of lessons;
27/29 good, satisfying knowledge, ability to express essentially correct;
24/26: knowledge fairly good, but not complete and not always correct;
21/23: acceptable but superficial knowledge. Expression often not appropriate;
18/21: sufficient, even with cognitive and / or expressive deficiencies;
Less than 18: insufficient. The preparation has serious gaps in terms of content, lack of clarity, inadequate understanding of concepts and
On the basis of the Dublin descriptors, at the end of the course the students will have to demonstrate: (a) to possess knowledge and
understanding skills that extend and / or reinforce those developed during the first cycle of philosophical studies and allow original
elaborations and interpretations, often in a research context; (b) to apply their knowledge, comprehension skills and skills in solving problems to new issues, included in wider (or interdisciplinary) contexts related to
philosophical studies; (c) to be able to integrate knowledge and manage complexity, as well as to formulate judgments, including reflection on
social and ethical responsibilities related to the application of their knowledge and judgments; (d) to be able to communicate their conclusions, as well as their underlying knowledge, to specialists and non-specialists in a clear and unambiguous manner; (e) to have developed those learning skills that enable them to continue to study mostly in an autonomous way.