HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY (UNIT A)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge of the primary arguments of the History of Philosophy from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The type of issues covered in this course makes it possible each year to examine key moments in the history of thought of this period with special attention given to the fundamental moments in preceding historical periods.
Ability to comprehend the principal lines of argument of a philosophical text, including on the basis of lexical skills that make it possible to comprehend the relevance of given philosophical terms in given historical contexts.
Knowledge of the type of problems and the method of approaching them in philosophy in relation to precise historical and cultural contexts.
Within the context of the outlook offered in this course, knowledge of contemporary philosophical issues, both in terms of their historical genesis as well as their current relevance.
Knowledge of main tendencies in the history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the first half of the 20th century.
Direct knowledge of a number of philosophy texts, for example one of Plato’s dialogues, one of the books of Metaphysics by Aristotle, the Cartesian Discourse on method, a work or part of a work by Kant.
Knowledge of one foreign language and at least some terms of the Greek and German philosophical lexicon.
Course contents summary
Metaphisics and ontology: the problem of the different regions of reality
What is metaphisics? Kant’s “copernican revolution” is the answer to this question, also reformulated by Heidegger. The question concerns both objective reality and subjective reality. The course aims at examining the criteria of distinguishing among different forms and regions of reality and in advance the criteria of distinguishing berween metaphysics and ontology, from Kant bis Husserl and Heidegger.
Part A - Institutional part: main methodological directions for studying history of philosophy with bibliographical references; reading and commentary of Kant’s Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik, die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten können, in order to expound kantian theory of metaphysics, of formal ontology, of human reality.
Part B – Monographic part on metaphysics and formal ontology: being and reality and their different modalities in Kant, Husserl, Heidegger; the difference between objective reality and subjective reality, between things and persons.
I. Kant, Prolegomeni ad ogni futura metafisica che voglia presentarsi come scienza (1783), trad. it. di P. Carabellese, riv. da H. Hohenegger, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2002
E. Husserl, Lineamenti di etica formale (1908-1914), a cura di P. Basso e P. Spinicci, Le Lettere, Firenze 2002
M. Heidegger, Che cos’è metafisica? (1929), in M. Heidegger, Segnavia, a cura di F. Volpi, Milano, Adelphi, 1987, pp. 59-78.
To learn thoroughly
A. Guerra, Introduzione a Kant, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1998.
B. Centi, Coscienza, etica e architettonica in Kant. Uno studio attraverso le Critiche, Biblioteca di “Studi Kantiani”, Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, Pisa-Roma 2002
R. Bernet, I. Kern, E. Marbach, Husserl, il Mulino, Bologna 1992
V. Costa, E. Franzini, P. Spinicci, La fenomenologia, Einaudi, Torino 2002
B. Centi, G. Gigliotti, Fenomenologia della ragion pratica. L’etica di Husserl, Bibliopolis, Napoli 2004
G. Vattimo, Introduzione a Heidegger, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1997
N. Abbagnano-G. Fornero, Protagonisti e testi della Filosofia, Paravia-Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2000.
F. Cioffi e altri, Diàlogos, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2000.
Histories of Philosophy:
N. Abbagnano, Storia della filosofia, voll. 3, 4 (in collaborazione con G. Fornero), UTET, Torino 1994.
C. A. Viano, P. Rossi, Storia della filosofia, voll. 4, 5, 6, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 1997-1999.
N. Abbagnano, Dizionario di Filosofia, UTET, Torini 1987 2
J. Ritter e altri, Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, Schwabe, Basel, 1971 –
The first 6 lessons of Unit A are designed to supplement the student’s basic preparation by outlining a line of study for the history of philosophy that explains how the course material will be covered in general for key moments in ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary thought. Bibliographical information and reference texts for the History of Philosophy will be given, as well as basic texts of the History of Philosophy to allow students to create a solid basis of study.
In the classroom, textbooks that have the original text and translations side-by-side will be used; when such texts are not available, original language texts will be used so that students will become familiar with the most important terms and those specific to each author examined. At the end of the course, a list of these terms in their original language accompanied by a translation will be provided.
The course syllabus has been designed to develop the conceptual analysis of the proposed topic with direct reference to the writings of the authors examined, including through readings and discussion. Conceptual analysis is aimed at clarifying the problem, the arguments offered and the conclusion developed by each author, with special attention given his interlocutors and critical debate of which he was part or gave rise to. The historical context in which each author developed his own views is constantly referred to. In addition, works that (although not part of the final exam) are important for understanding the theoretical and historical relevance of the arguments covered, will be presented briefly. These works, such as critical essays, are made available to students who wish to study in more depth the arguments covered in the classroom.
At the start of the course students are informed that they will be required to produce a written work that may be: 1) a review of the principal arguments of one of the authors covered on the basis of first-hand reading of a work; 2) a discussion of one of the arguments presented during the course.
Seminars for the reading and discussion of one of the texts presented as part of the course syllabus will be organised, as well as seminars in which students will present their written work. During lectures, students are asked to reflect upon a number of especially important issues and to offer their own explanations of read passages and interpretation of views. This also promotes independent thinking on the part of the student through questions and reading assignments.
The course, divided into two units, Unit A and Unit B, is worth 10 credits. The two units of the course may also be taken separately. Subject to the permission of the course instructor, Unit B, which is more specialised, may be taken independently of Unit A which is more introductory in nature.
Modifications and supplementary material for students in other courses of study may be agreed upon.
At the end of Unit A, students may sit an exam for the material covered in order to subsequently concentrate on preparing Unit B.
Evaluation is based on ascertaining the student’s ability to comprehend and correctly present the principal topics and arguments covered during the course, the historical questions covered and the ability to grasp dilemmas and problematic aspects in the philosophical positions discussed.