Cultural anthropology tries to interpretate the differences that arise between individuals belonging to the same culture, or between different cultures, treating each of them as if it were an individual. Therefore, it takes these differences as a matter of fact, whereas philosophical anthropology tries to understand why, and by which means, men in general respond to the stimuli coming from their environments by creating the cultures in which they live. Thus philosophical anthropology ends up asking itself which sense – if there is any – men find for themselves, their presence, their place and their duty in the world.
The Power of Evil
After the tragic, our journey through the fundamental notions of philosophy reaches a daring destination: evil. Evil is a seductive as well as powerful notion – so powerful, indeed, because it lays bare philosophy’s pretensions to find a stable meaning of the world, and refutes every theodicy. Evil, in its double meaning of radical evil and moral evil, has always been part of the very restricted club of the main philosophical questions. It is also an unavoidable one in order to give human life relevance and significance. It invests not only the Western philosophical tradition, reaching its maximum speculative force in Augustine, given that also the Genesis, the most decisive book of the Old Testament, revolves around it. In its constant strive to find a solution to the problem of evil, philosophy eventually just clinched with the impossibility to find a stable meaning of the world – or maybe not?
Bibliography of the course:
- Audio file of the lessons, reperable at https://elearning.univr.it/j/.
- Augustine, Natura del bene, Bompiani, Milano 2001.
- Augustine, Confessioni, books III and VII (scanned texts reperable at https://elearning.univr.it/j/).
- Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, I, qq. 48-49, scanned texts reperable at https://elearning.univr.it/j/; Il male, q. 1, a. 1, Bompiani, Milano 2001, pp. 97-115.
- Immanuel Kant, La religione entro i limiti della sola ragione, Laterza, Roma-Bari, cap. I, parte III.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogia della morale, Prima dissertazione, Adelphi, Milano.
- Hans Jonas, Il concetto di Dio dopo Auschwitz. Una voce ebraica, Il Melangolo, Genova.
The final test consists of an oral discussion about the authors, the subjects, and the texts discussed during the course.
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