History of Ancient Philosophy (p) (2009/2010)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Linda Napolitano
Linda Napolitano
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Sep 28, 2009 al Jan 16, 2010.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

Beyond offering a general picture of authors and schools within the Ancient Philosophy, the course aims at teaching to use the proper philosophical terminology (nearly all deriving from ancient Greek). Also it aims at teaching the critical use of an original philosophical text, for acquiring basic philosophical matters and concepts.


Prerequisites: Surely a previous knowledge of the history of Greek and Latin philosophy (from VIth Century b.C. to 529 a.D.) allows to work easier within this scientific field: however it is not compulsory. The same can be said as to ancient Greek language. Better, an attention to lexical research and an interest in a critical reading of philosophical texts are very useful.

Course content: Title: “The philosophical birth of the self”.
Following Michel Foucault’s reflections, we will treat a Platonic dialogue, Alcibiades I. Rightly this text, already read in the ancient philosophical schools as an introduction to philosophical studies, has been seen as the beginning of the Western notion of subject (heautòn). This is identified with the soul (psychè), whose nature here isn’t yet precisely described: however its relation to the body is grasped and the soul is said to guide the body to action as it were his proper instrument. Man is, then, a whole resulting of different parts (soul and body), tied to each other within a hierarchical and dynamic relation. Without a notion of our self, without a right care (epimèleia) of it, we cannot live a happy and harmonious life and cannot have right relations to other people.

a) Parte generale: E. BERTI, Storia della filosofia: Antichità e Medioevo, Roma-Bari 1991 (ed edizioni successive), Capp. I-VIII (comunque fino al neoplatonismo compreso);
b) testo di riferimento: PLATONE, Alcibiade I. Alcibiade II, introduzione di G. ARRIGHETTI, traduzione e note di D. PULIGA, testo greco a fronte, Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, Milano 1995 (ed edizioni successive).
a) testo critico: M. FOUCAULT, L’ermeneutica del soggetto. Corso al Collège de France (/1981-1982), Milano Feltrinelli 2003, pp. 1-146;
b) testo critico: M. MIGLIORI – L.M. NAPOLITANO VALDITARA – A. FERMANI (a c. di), Interiorità e anima . La psychè in Platone, Milano Vita e Pensiero 2007, pp. 165-200 e 225-44 .

Teaching methods: The course will be carried on by frontal lessons, with direct reading of the texts and following discussions. Therefore attendance at classes will be very useful and desirable, though obviously not compulsory.
The same program is valid for students who cannot attend lessons; nevertheless, they must get in touch with the teacher, in order 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.

Assessment methods and criteria

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. As to the basic texts of the course, the student can choose also to write a brief paper (5-10 pp., to be given at least one week before the exam) on some subjects discussed together, or on some passages read together during classes: this relation will be orally discussed during the exam.