LANGUAGE AND CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY - (FE)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1-Knowledge and understanding
The course presents a survey of the major positions of the contemporary debate on the philosophy of perception and of the main theoretical options there are for future research.
2-Applying Knowledge and understanding
Students will be trained to recognize, reformulate, and criticize arguments with the goal to acquire the skills necessary for doing philosophical research.
3-4-5 Making judgments, communication and learning skills
Students are invited to prepare the texts autonomously so as to be able to present the main arguments in short presentations in class. Guidance during their preparing and writing the term paper will allow them to develop the skills necessary to participate autonomously in the philosophical debate and to learn and enlarge their knowledge in an autonomous way.
Evolving an ability to analyze the presented texts and discuss them in the light of different interpretations.
Evolving the ability to produce a written text on the relevant aspect of Wittgenstein's philosophy and to present it critically in a well-argued way.
Acquiring some degree of autonomy of judgment and a good level of clarity in communication.
Becoming able to integrate the lectures and the texts with a personal examination of the secondary literature on the relevant topics.
Course contents summary
The philosophy of Artificial Intelligence.
This year's course will focus on philosophical questions that are related to research in artificial intelligence.
“Language and world-picture”. In the latest years of his life Wittgenstein wrote the notes which constitute "On Certainty", his third masterpiece (after the "Tractatus" and the "Philosophical Investigations"). There, he addresses classical philosophical questions, such as the relation of common sense and scientific knowledge, scepticism, evidence, certainty and the notion of a world-picture. The course aims at providing the students with a guide to reading and understanding such a complex text, focusing on the role that Wittgenstein’s anthropological view of language plays in arguing against philosophical scepticism as well as against philosophical realism (Moore) and relativism. In particular, it will be stressed how such a view allows us to rethink the notion of world-picture in terms of ‘hinge propositions’.
The first part of the course (about the first 15 hours) will be devoted to the presentation of the basic notions of Wittgensten’s later philosophy of language, including his notion of meaning; the second part (the remaining 15 hours) will be devoted to a close reading of "On certainty".
John Haugeland: Mind Design, 2nd ed., Cambridge/Mass.: MIT Press, 1997. (Selected chapters)
Boden, Margaret A. AI: Its Nature and Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Della certezza", Einaudi, 1999.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Ricerche filosofiche", Einaudi, 2009.
L.Perissinotto, "Introduzione a Wittgenstein", Il Mulino, 2018.
H.Sluga, "Wittgenstein", Einaudi, 2011.
L.Perissinotto, "Logica e immagine del mondo", Guerini e Associati, Nuova Edizione 2015
A.Coliva, "Moore and Wittgenstein. Scepticism, Certainty and Common sense", Palgrave McMillan, 2010.
A.Coliva, “Hinges and Certainty. A Précis of Moore and Wittgenstein. Scepticism, Certainty and Common sense”, in Philosophia, Vol 42, n°1- 2013, pp. 1-12.
During the meetings we will analyse a series of texts. There will be ample room for discussing the various aspects that emerge from the texts. The success of the course will depend essentially on the students’ active participation in discussion and they are encouraged to share their interests, doubts, and perplexities with the others. Students who are not able to assist the meetings in class will be able to follow the course via internet (http://moodle.filosofia.edunova.it/2019/).
The course will mostly consist of lectures. In addition, topics will be suggested for written papers and oral presentations, to be discussed in class.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists in writing a short term-paper (10-12 pages ca., in English or Italian) in which the student shows their competences in formulating and discussing in an argumentative way a specific philosophical problem (in the field of the philosophy of Artificial Intelligence), to reconstruct and contrast relevant arguments that have bee proposed by the philosophers discussed in class with the goal to draft a text that is informative for a non-expert reader. Students are invited to pay attention to the own expressive tools, to the coherent use of technical terminology, the cogency of the argument and a concise style.
The oral part of the exam consists in a discussion of the term paper.
30 e lode: excellent, profound knowledge, excellent expressive capacities, complete comprehension of the relevant concepts and arguments
30: very good, complete and adequate knowledge, good discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
27-29: good, an acceptable degree of knowledge, acceptable discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
24-26: mediocre level of knowledge, though incomplete and not not always correct.
21-23: basic, though superficial knowledge. Inadequate discursive competences with respect to the topic of the course.
Below 18: insufficient. Very imcomplete knowledge, presentation unclear, incomplete comprehension of the basic concepts and arguments.
The exam comes in two parts: (a) a written paper on one of the topics that were presented in the lectures, (b) an oral examination including questions on the materials covered in the course as well as discussion of the written paper.
Final evaluation will reflect
- command of the course contents,
- ability to critically elaborate on them,
- expository and argumentative abilities.
The lectures of the course will be given in English, but students are free to ask questions or contribute to discussion in Italian. (Students who do not have sufficient knowledge of English can determine, together with the instructor, an alternative program for the exam -- in analogy to students who are not able to frequent classes)