History of Philosophy A (i) (2012/2013)

Course code
4S02151
Credits
12
Coordinator
Linda Napolitano
Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff
II MODULO PARTE (II) 6 M-FIL/06-HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Semestrino IB Carlo Chiurco
Linda Napolitano
I MODULO PARTE (I) 6 M-FIL/06-HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY semestrino IA Linda Napolitano

Learning outcomes

Module: II MODULO PARTE (II)
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Beyond offering a general picture of authors and schools within the ancient and mediaeval philosophy, the course aims at teaching to use the proper philosophical terminology. Also it aims at teaching the critical use of an original philosophical text, for acquiring basic philosophical matters and concepts.


Module: I MODULO PARTE (I)
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Syllabus

Module: II MODULO PARTE (II)
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Prerequisites: Surely a previous knowledge of the history of the ancient and mediaeval philosophy allows to work easier within this scientific field: however it is not compulsory. The same can be said as to the ancient Greek and Latin languages. Better, an attention to lexical research and an interest in a critical reading of philosophical texts are very useful.

Course's title and content: “Kòsmos: the divine and the order of the world”
First of all, in the first Module, we will analyze the ancient Greek notion of kòsmos, particularly in Plato’s Dialogues. It refers to an ordered and beautiful universe, a living whole whose parts are well-proportioned to each other. However it is not perfect, settled, eternal and free from evil. On the contrary the kòsmos is non-stop becoming and including within itself oppositions, hierarchies and negative aspects as sufferance and death. Nevertheless, in the order itself it shows, it refers to a notion of the divine, namely to an intelligent principle always engaged in taking care of this universe, notwithstanding its constructional difference. We will analyze also this notion of the divine, particularly in its relations to the ordered universe. Believing in God or not, the man recognizing his participation in such a universe on his turn must take care of it, accepting and honouring its different forms of life and natural dynamics. This ancient Greek notion of kòsmos seems to advance some today’s environmentalist and ecological views, of a biosphere to be respected and protected from a possible destruction, more than it up to now was done by the contemporary pragmatic iper-productional liberism and by the narcissistic consumerism.
The second part of the course will focus on the evolution conception of kosmos, or “well-ordered universe”, during the Middle Ages. Medieval thinkers basically relied on neo-platonic thought in order to elaborate their own conceptions of kosmos (mundus, in Latin). Neo-platonism introduced the idea of an universe completely dependent on a First and transcendent Principle, and therefore beautiful since it manifested this very Principle. This conception fascinated the medieval man for centuries, but slowly evolved from the sophisticated intellectualism of the neoplatonics into a complex, and somewhat convoluted web of images, allegories and symbols. The symbolic mundus eventually took the place of the theophanic kosmos. When scientific texts inspired by Aristotle started to circulate again in Europe, imported from the Arabic world, this conception began to falter, and the symbolic mundus gave pace to the proto-scientific universe of the celestial spheres, with their eternal and perfectly calculated circle movements – a universe fully deterministic, bound to clash with the voluntarism of the medieval tradition, that of the human soul as well as that at the roots of God’s creation. Face to this menace, medieval philosophy will react in two ways: Thomas Aquinas will refuse the possibility of the universe as purely deterministic, by highlighting the primacy of philosophical reason, while Bonaventure will criticize both science and philosophy by relying instead on a new mysticism that will unite the neo-platonic tradition of the theophanic kosmos of old with the powerful sense of creaturality brought about in the incredible life and experiences of Francis of Assisi.

Books to be studied
First Module (Linda Napolitano) (attention: taken from Storia della filosofia antica (p) 6 credits):

Second Module (Carlo Chiurco): (attention: this Module does not substitute the specific course Storia della filosofia Medievale)
a) General Part: E. BERTI-F. VOLPI, Storia della filosofia: dall'antichità ad oggi, Edizione compatta, 2 voll. indivisibili, Roma-Bari 2007 (from Neoplatonism to Occam; the teacher will say later which authors are to be studied);
b) Lectures notes – basic texts: selected chapters from Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae and from Bonaventure’s Itinerarium mentis in Deum.
c) Lecture notes – critical essays: two essays (in Italian; but versions in French and English are also available) by T. GREGORY, Mundana sapientia. Forme di conoscenza nella cultura medievale, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Roma 1992: «L’idea di natura nella filosofia medievale prima dell’ingresso della fisica di Aristotele. Il secolo XII», pp. 77-115; «Astrologia e teologia nella cultura medievale», pp. 291-329; C. CHIURCO, «Al confine tra patria e via: simbolo e teofania in San Bonaventura».
d) Audio files of the lessons.
e) Integrations and substitutions: students who cannot attend lessons, or those who must substitute the General part must get in touch with the teacher,s in order to receive indications on adding texts, whose reading will compensate for lacking attendance: these texts will be agreed for every student, with regard to his previous knowledge, curriculum and interests.

Teaching Methods: The course will be carried on by frontal lessons, with an introductory presentation of thinkers and philosophical schools, with direct reading of the texts on the monographical subject and following discussions. Therefore attendance at classes will be very useful and desirable, though obviously not compulsory.


Module: I MODULO PARTE (I)
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Assessment methods and criteria

Module: II MODULO PARTE (II)
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Some oral questions will be put to the student; he will be invited to read and comment some passages of the original texts already read together during classes. As to the basic texts of the course, the student can choose also to write a brief paper (5-10 pp., to be given at least one week before the exam) on some subjects discussed together, or on some passages read together during classes: this relation will be orally discussed during the exam.

Specific cases:
the undergraduate students until 2007-8 will study, for Storia della filosofia (A), only 6 credits and then will choice between this first Module, or the second one on history of mediaeval philosophy (the second Module does not substitute the specific Course of Storia della filosofia Medievale


Module: I MODULO PARTE (I)
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