History of Philosophy 2 - MODULO I (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Laura Anna Macor
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A dal Sep 21, 2020 al Oct 31, 2020.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide an overview of the history of early-modern philosophy and its terminology. Special attention will be given to developing a critical approach to the most important texts as well as their central issues and concepts.

The anticipated learning objectives are as follows:

- Knowledge:

1) Knowledge and understanding of early-modern philosophical contexts (historical-cultural contexts, philosophical traditions);
2) Knowledge and understanding of the theories developed by the major early-modern philosophers;
3) Knowledge and understanding of the lexicon of early-modern philosophy.

- Skills:

1) Applying knowledge and understanding to the reading of and commentary on philosophical texts, possibly in the original or at least with some reference to it; this should be demonstrated by the mastery of an appropriate vocabulary and the ability to identify interpretative problems and suggest possible solutions;
2) Making autonomous judgments and engaging in independent reasoning;
3) Developing communication skills in the following areas: participating in guided discussions, generating and explaining ideas and defending these through arguments, and possibly delivering short presentations;
4) Enacting autonomous learning skills through the development of an appropriate study and interpretation methodology in relation to both texts and contexts.


PREREQUISITES: Knowledge of ancient and medieval philosophy.

COURSE CONTENT: The Thought of Kant in the Context of his Time.

The course will consist of two parts:

1) General part: introduction to the history of early-modern philosophy (15th-18th centuries): cross-trajectories (e.g., religious tolerance, prejudice, the nature/dignity/vocation of the human being);

2) Monographic part: introduction to the German Enlightenment (historical and cultural features, periodization, major authors, basic concepts) and introduction to Kant’s thought (works, terminology, main theses, with special attention given to ethics, the philosophy of history and reflection on the Enlightenment).

TEACHING METHODS: The modality of course delivery will depend on the University’s measures against COVID-19. The course will consist of lectures as well as, if possible, discussions guided by the professor. There is the possibility for attending students to present a paper in class. The plurality of teaching methods is conceived of as a way of helping students, who will be offered as wide a range of learning paths as possible with a view to enabling them to attain, either face to face or in the context of distance education, both the knowledge- and the skills-related learning outcomes outlined above.


1) G. Cambiano e M. Mori, Tempi del pensiero. Storia e antologia della filosofia, 2. Età moderna, Laterza, Roma – Bari 2012 (or other edition), chapters 1-15 or G. Belgioioso, Storia della filosofia moderna, Le Monnier-Mondadori, Firenze – Milano 2018, chapters 1-22 (or an alternative handbook to be discussed with the professor);

2) Learning materials published on e-learning;

3) I. Kant, Risposta alla domanda: che cos’è l’illuminismo?, ed. by M. Bensi, Postfazione by A. M. Iacono, ETS, Pisa 2013, or in I. Kant, Scritti sul criticismo, ed. by G. De Flaviis, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1991, pp. 5-12, or in Che cos’è l’illuminismo? I testi e la genealogia del concetto, ed. by A. Tagliapietra, transl. by S. Manzoni and E. Tetamo, Mondadori, Milano 2010 (20001), pp. 16-41, or in I. Kant, Che cos’è l’illuminismo?, ed. by N. Merker, Editori Riuniti, Roma 2017 (1997), pp. 61-59;

4) Massimo Mori and Paola Rumore, Kant e l’illuminismo, in La filosofia dei moderni. Storia e temi, ed. by G. Paganini, Carocci, Roma 2020, pp. 321-349, 362-363.

LEARNING MATERIALS: Additional learning materials will be published on e-learning.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Immanuel Kant Che cos'è l'Illuminismo? Editori Riuniti 2017
A. Tagliapietra (a cura di) Che cos'è l'illuminismo? I testi e la genealogia del concetto Bruno Mondadori 2010
G. Paganini (curatore) La filosofia dei moderni. Storia e temi Carocci 2020 pp. 321-349, 362-363
I. Kant Risposta alla domanda: che cos'è l'illuminismo? ETS 2013
I. Kant Scritti sul criticismo Laterza 1991 pp. 5-12
G. Belgioioso Storia della filosofia moderna Le Monnier-Mondadori 2018
G. Cambiano e M. Mori Tempi del pensiero. Storia e antologia della filosofia, 2. Età moderna Laterza 2012

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam.

The exam aims to assess the attainment of the course’s twofold learning outcomes (knowledge/understanding and skills) with special attention being given to ability to compare the authors studied, and this will be addressed as follows:

1) General part: (autonomously) outlining a cross-trajectory in early-modern thought: students will have to demonstrate possession of basic facts and notions, showing ability to explain them in a systematic manner and follow their diachronic development. In order to do this, they will have to prepare an oral exposition of 10 minutes devoted to a particular topic, idea or concept to be analyzed in three different authors/philosophical movements, distributed chronologically, linguistically and geographically so as to cover ideally all centuries of the program and almost two different areas. This exposition can (but has not necessarily to) consist of a commentary on chosen passages, which must be sent to the professor before the exam. Examples of quotes, used in the first part of the course, will be published on e-learning as a model and/or point of departure for cross-trajectories on the same topic; in this case, however, significant changes will have to be included by students in order to show their autonomy in learning.

2) Monographic part: ability to answer one or more questions on the German Enlightenment and Kant’s thought: students will have to prove capacity to formulate precise definitions, and possibly make connections between them (defining one or more philosophical concepts belonging to Kant’s terminology) and/or acquisition of a robust methodology for analysing texts and reflecting on their theoretical implications (reading of and commenting on a philosophical text from among those belonging to the Mandatory reading).

Each part of the exam has equal weighting, i.e., 1/2 of the final mark. Attending students who will have presented an optional short paper will be exempt from the part of the exam corresponding to the nature of the work already done, whether it covers the general or the monographic part. The paper’s assessment will contribute a half of the final total.