History of Medieval Philosophy(p) (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Carlo Chiurco
Carlo Chiurco
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IIB dal Apr 23, 2018 al Jun 9, 2018.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Classes in History of medieval philosophy aim to equip students with an in-depth knowledge of some of the most important topics of the philosophical reflection of the Middle Ages. In doing so, the course will privilege a dialogical stance towards the main philosophical issues of our time.
By the end of the course, students are expected to possess (a) a sufficient knowledge of all the subjects addressed during the lessons, (b) a sufficient capacity to critically read the texts, and finally, (c) sufficient communication skills that will enable them to critically master and express the concepts acquired and/or elaborated during the course, by means of using a correct and sophisticated philosophical language.


Freedom, necessity, decision: love in the thought of Augustine.
From Interstellar to Matrix Revolutions, science fiction movies have discussed, and splendidly staged, human anxiety face to the big question whether our lives are actually free. Only if freedom of choice actually exists, our lives make sense: viceversa, were the universe be entirely run by a blind, mechanical necessity, all sense would be entirely sucked into a dark meaninglessness far worse than death itself. The fight between freedom and necessity is a theoretical constant that entirely permeates Augustine's thought. Though he acknowledges freedom as the only possible root of evil, he still secretly holds it as man's only real hope. Were freedom not the only root of evil, pushing theological reflection towards the dangerous shores of divine predestination, then love - the only force that can stand up against necessity - would be entirely impossible.

Classes will provide students with an in-depth analysis of the course topics. Manuals will not be used, therefore students are expected to already possess the basic competences in medieval philosophy provided by the second module of History of philosophy 1. In order to analyze the course topics, the reading and the punctual commentary of medieval texts will prove essential. Texts can be read also in original language (Latin), in which they were written. The course will also use the e-learning website of the university, where audio files of the lessons and all the texts that are not listed in the course bibliography will be uploaded. The audio files of the lessons are an essential and compulsory part of the course bibliography. The course will also make use of movies projections (Interstellar, Matrix Revolutions) and seminars. Students are warmly encouraged to write a paper, and to read and discuss it in public. This will clearly positively influence the outcome of the final examination.
Meeting hours for students are scheduled during the whole academic year: days and hours may be found at the personal webpage of the teacher, which is constantly updated. Fixing a personal appointment is not compulsory. Dates and hours of the single lessons as well as their topics are provided before the beginning of the course; any variation will be promptly communicated in the News section of the teacher's personal webpage.
Students who will not attend classes can choose a more personal approach to the course (to be jointly decided with the teacher), if they wish so, and study one of more additional text(s) beside those listed in the course bibliography.
The subjects and the contents of the books listed in the general bibliography, as well as the lessons and tests possibly performed during the course, are coherent with the program. Further material may be uploaded on the e-learning website of the university.
A calendar of the lessons will be provided as soon as possible.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Agostino Confessioni Rizzoli 2003 Saranno letti passi scelti.
Arendt Il concetto d'amore in Agostino Studio Editoriale 2004
Agostino La Città di Dio Rusconi 1998 Saranno letti passi scelti.
Agostino La felicità. La libertà (Edizione 2) Rizzoli 1997 Solo il De libero arbitrio.

Assessment methods and criteria

In order to pass the exam, students will need to show that:
- they possess a thorough knowledge of the authors and the subjects studied during the course;
- they are capable to read and comment a medieval philosophical text by operating autonomously and using an appropriate and precise philosophical language.
The competence of all students, either those who attended the course or those who didn’t, will be ascertained by means of an oral examination about the authors, the texts and the subjects discussed during the classes. The final score will be expressed in /30s.