Political philosophy (p) (2014/2015)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Olivia Guaraldo
Olivia Guaraldo
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IA, Sem. IB

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

Semestre: 1
Numero totale dei crediti: 6
Obiettivi formativi: The course aims at introducing and discussing some of the major issues concerning political philosophy, especially those related to the contemporary global challenges that interest this field of research.
Prerequisiti: Basic knowledge in the History of Philosophy


Revolution and public happiness: towards a rethinking of political agency
What is – and what has been – the revolution? Is it still possible today to speak of a revolutionary political change? The course aims at analysing the historical and conceptual origin of the term ‘Revolution’, moving from the political experiences of modern revolutions (in particular the American and French ones) and their interpretations in the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville – refined 19th century observer of post-revoutionary societies – and Hannah Arendt, the famous 20th century political thinker. What is at stake in revolutionary political agency, according to these authors, is “the cause of liberty against tyranny”, which carries with it a surprising experience of “public happiness”. Following this interpretative thread, the course intends to problematize the relation among radical political transformation, political participation and happiness, in order to question wether it allows an equally radical rethinking of political agency.
Mandatory texts:
H. Arendt, Sulla rivoluzione, Torino, Einaudi 2009
A. de Tocqueville, L’antico regime e la rivoluzione, Milano, BUR 1996
S. Forti, Ripensare la rivoluzione, in Ead., Hannah Arendt tra filosofia e politica, Milano, Bruno Mondadori 2006, pp. 235-264. (Photocopies available at university photocopies stores).
G. Pasquino, voce: “Rivoluzione”in N. Bobbio, N. Matteucci, G. Pasquino, Dizionario di politica, Torino, UTET 200410. (Photocopies available at university photocopies stores).

Suggested readings:
H. Melville, Billy Budd marinaio, in Id., Gente di mare, Milano, Mondadori, pp. 163-283.
F. Dostoevski, I fratelli Karamazov, Torino, Einaudi 2005 (o qualsiasi altra edizione)
Georg Büchner, La morte di Danton, in Id., Teatro. La morte di Danton. Leonce e Lena. Woyzeck , Milano, Adelphi 1998.

Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination or written essay to be agreed on with the Professor