Scientific Disciplinary Sector (SSD)
M-FIL/07 - HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Sem IA dal Oct 1, 2013 al Nov 17, 2013.
Formative tasks: Beyond offering a picture of authors and schools within the ancient philosophy, the course aims at teaching to use the proper philosophical terminology. Also it aims at teaching the critical use of an original philosophical text, for acquiring basic philosophical matters and concepts.
Prerequisites: A knowledge of the history of the ancient philosophy (from VI Century B.C. to 529 A.D.) is previously required (if lacking, it must be acquired). On the contrary a knowledge of the ancient Greek and Latin l nguages is not required, although it allows to work easier within this scientific field. An attention to lexical research and an interest in a critical reading of philosophical texts are very useful.
Course's title and content: “Desire, pleasure, pain: an excursus in Plato”
We will explore whether the Platonic use of metaphors and myths (“spoken images”) founds a moral reflection and which role desire, pleasure and pain can play therein. An image is fundamental, namely that of the perspective deception of our sight caused by the skiagraphìa: this is a technique of using shadows at a distance in order to distort the natural proportions of things and to offer, to people watching from far and the bottom, pure appearances of them. Tragedy is an usual pedagogical way within the classical city: however it, depicting pleasures and pains of his characters in a similarly distorted way, causes deceptive effects on the members of his audience’s souls; this way tragedy creates negative moral conflicts and, more, painful confusion, at its turn generating unhappiness. For learning a right conduct, generating, on the contrary, “the sweetest life”, namely the most pleasant and satisfying one, we must acquire (and then we must ‘act’) a measured perspective vision: both of ourselves, as embodied souls, and of the many ways we, just as embodied souls and not simple bodies, are capable of desiring, enjoying and suffering. This proposal is more complex and valuable than the ascetic vision traditionally ascribed to Plato, what’s more with interesting links to contemporary matters.
Books to be studied
a) General Part (for students having never studied it): E. BERTI-F. VOLPI, Storia della filosofia: dall'antichità ad oggi, Edizione compatta, 2 voll. indivisibili, Roma-Bari 2007 (vol. I : from the origins to Neoplatonism);
b) Lecture notes (at students' disposal online and in the photocopies shops “La rapida” and “Ateneo”);
c) Basic text: L.M. NAPOLITANO VALDITARA, ‘Prospettive’ del gioire e del soffrire nell’etica di Platone, Milano-Udine Mimesis 2013;
d) Critical text: one at choice between: M. RECALCATI, Ritratti del desiderio, Milano Raffaello Cortina Editore 2012; M.C. NUSSBAUM, Non per profitto. Perché le democrazie ‘hanno bisogno’ della cultura umanistica, Bologna Il Mulino 2011.
e) Integrations and substitutions: students who cannot attend lessons, those repeating this course, or those who must substitute the General part: or will study the other text at choice (d) Critical text), or will get in touch with the teacher, in order to receive indications on adding texts: these will be agreed for every student, with regard to his previous knowledge, curriculum and interests.
Teaching Methods: The course will be carried on by frontal lessons, with an introductory presentation of subjects, with direct reading of the texts on the monographical subject and following discussions. Therefore attendance at classes will be very useful and desirable, though obviously not compulsory.
Assesments: 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.