Scientific Disciplinary Sector (SSD)
M-FIL/07 - HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 3, 2011 al Jan 27, 2012.
Beyond offering a general 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: Surely a previous knowledge of the history of the ancient philosophy (from VI 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 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.
Course's content: Title: “Immortality: philosophy as gotting over death”
First of all we will analyze the ancient Greek notion of death, as it was imagined in the Homerical and the Orphic traditions and by the Presocratic philosophers (Heraclitus, Pythagoreans, Empedocles). In Socrates' and Plato's thought -particularly in the dialogue entitled Phaedo- two notions are treated, later become fundamental in the history of Western philosophy. The notion of the soul (psychè), as the most genuine part of human being: the soul is a gnoseological and moral subject, capable of immortality; and the notion of immortality itself (athanasìa), as a way of living which the soul is rationally expected to live after the end of the body. Then philosophy itself is an 'exercise in dying” (melète thanàtou), namely a practice, already done during the embodied life, to an event which is natural and not to be feared, as regarding the sole body. In the silence kept by the Western contemporary culture about 'death' (a pure medical event) it seems useful and brightening to reflect upon the different vision of death which was offered at the roots of our cultural tradition.
Books to be studied
a) General Part: 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 in the photocopies shops “La rapida” and “Ateneo”)
c) Basic text: PLATO, Phaedo (choose one of the translations on sale)
d) Critical Texts: L.M. NAPOLITANO VALDITARA, Il sé, l'altro, l'intero. Rileggendo i Dialoghi di Platone, Milano-Udine Mimesis 2010, Cap. IIA, L'altro da cantare-incantare: Socrate e gli esercizi di morte, pp. 81-95; L. M. NAPOLITANO VALDITARA, Pietra filosofale della salute. Filosofia antica e formazione in medicina, Verona QuiEdit 2011, Cap. V, La vita che finisce, pp. 143-75.
e) Integrations and substitutions: students who cannot attend lessons, or those who must substitute the General part will also study: EURIPIDES, Alkestis (choose one of the translations on sale).
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 on the monographical subject and following discussions. Therefore attendance at classes will be very useful and desirable, though obviously not compulsory.
The same program is valid for the students who cannot attend lessons; nevertheless, they -when not interested in the text quoted before, at the point e (Integrations and substitutions)- 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.
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.