History of Philosophy A (i) (2017/2018)

Course code
Linda Napolitano
Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff

Learning outcomes

Formative tasks:
We aim at:
-(knowledge and understanding) offering a general picture of authors and schools within the ancient (from VI Century b. C. to IV Century a.d.) and mediaeval ( from IV Century a.d. to XIV Century a. d.) philosophy;
(communication skills) teaching to use the proper philosophical terminology;
-(applying knowledge and understanding) teaching the critical use of an original philosophical text, for acquiring basic philosophical matters and concepts.


Course's content: Title: “Words and matters of the Ancient Philosophy”
This I Module aims at exploring some terminological and conceptual points across the whole ancient philosophy (VI sec. B.C.- VI sec. A.C.).
These six subjects will be particularly discussed:
1) myth, lògos and dialogue (mýthos, lògos and diàlogos);
2) nature and principle (phýsis and archè);
3) divine and kosmos (theòs and kòsmos);
4) truth, knowledge and being (alètheia, sophìa and tò òn);
5) man and soul (ànthropos and psychè);
6) virtue and happiness (aretè and eudaimonìa).
For every subject: the original Greek terms will be indicated and explained, those which contribute to form the traditional philosophical language. The proposals will be examined of the most authoritative ancient thinkers, reading some original texts translated in Italian. Their various theories will be confronted to each other and we are going to look for the influence they may have had on the subsequent philosophical thinking, particularly on the contemporary one.

Main characteristics and topics of medieval philosophy
The course will focus on the main and most distinctive features of Western Latin medieval thinking, assuming that only a reconstruction of the whole picture of the many and often conflicting notions, values, and perspectives that punctuated its history may help us to reconstruct the way medieval men felt, lived, and thought. In order to achieve this, the course will rely on class lessons, anthological readings, and the usage of manual; precedence will be given on focusing on some chief philosophical issues of particular importance over the usual historical method. Students will need to demonstrate they possess and adequate knowledge of the following authors and schools: 1. The beginnings: Augustine, Boethius, Eriugena; 2. The Eleventh century: the dispute on dialectics and Anselm of Canterbury; 3. The Twelfth century: the "Renaissance", Abelard, the School of Chartres; 4. The rediscover of Aristotle: science-renaissance and birth of the universities; 5. Scholasticism: Aquinas and Bonaventure; 6. The sunset of the Middle Ages: Duns Scoto, Ockham, the beginning of Umanism.
Classes will deal with the fundamental notions of Western Latin medieval philosophy, from Augustine to William of Ockham.
In order to achieve this, we will rely on:
- the e-learning website of the university: this is where the audio files of the lessons, as well as all the texts that are not part of the course bibliography and all the other course material will be uploaded. The audio files of the lessons are an essential and compulsory part of the course bibliography;
- anthological readings of original ancient and medieval texts, which will be discussed in the class;
- the manual.

Assessment methods and criteria

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.

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 and following discussions. Therefore attendance at classes will be very useful and desirable, though obviously not compulsory.
A student who cannot attend lessons, or who must substitute the General part must approach the teachers 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.
Lessons (audio recording) will be available on the e-learning system. Other texts will be disposable on papers or online.

Assessments: 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. The student may freely choose to write a little paper (5-7 pages) about the subjects discussed during classes and he will send this paper to the teachers a week before the official exam: the text will be discussed together during the exam.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
BETTETINI - PAPARELLA Filosofia medievale Cortina 2004
Bruno Centrone Prima lezione di filosofia antica (Edizione 1) Laterza 2015
Enrico Berti - Franco Volpi Storia della filosofia: dall'antichità ad oggi (Edizione 1) Laterza 2007
GILSON E. Storia della filosofia medioevale Sansoni 2004
Linda Napolitano Virtù, piacere e felicità nell'etica dei Greci (Edizione 1) Aemme Edizioni Verona 2014
Maria Bettetini ... [et al.] ; con la collaborazione di Francesco Paparella Filosofia medievale Cortina 2004
Étienne Gilson La filosofia nel Medioevo. Dalle origini patristiche alla fine del XIV secolo Sansoni 2004