A first goal of this workshop is to develop the student's skills in reading and analyzing ancient philosophical texts.
A second, related, goal is to consolidate the student's ability to communicate the knowledge acquired with a focus on the ancient epistemological reflection and its relevance today.
A final goal is to introduce the student to texts and topics in ancient philosophy.
Expected learning outcomes
The workshop aims to develop the following skills:
Critical thinking skills: By the end of the workshop, students will display a sufficiently independent critical approach in selecting and interpreting the notions that are most relevant their area of study and to the broader socio-cultural context in which they operate
Communication skills: By the end of the workshop: - students will be able to effectively communicate the acquired knowledge and disseminate it to the general public; - student will have developed basic IT skills concerning knowledge preservation and transfer.
Learning skills: By the end of the workshop, students will have developed the learning skills required to continue their studies in keeping with their own research interests. In order to meet this objective, students will also develop relevant skills in the independent interpretation of sources and in the use of basic IT tool for bibliographic research.
Lesson period: Second semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The question of how the expert communicates with the non-expert is of great relevance today. We will reflect on this question by looking at how Herodotus and the medical writers of the fifth century BC related to their public, which was a public of non-experts.
The medical texts collected in the so-called Hippocratic corpus contain more or less systematic reflections on the natural and limits of medical knowledge. We will look at these reflections in order to reconstruct the main lines of Preplatonic epistemology.
By attending this workshop, the student is entitled to 3 ECTS. The workshop is open to all students of the degree course in Philosophy and of the Master degree in Philosophical Sciences.
Prerequisites for admission
Oral presentation and discussion The student is required to read the assigned texts in advance.
Primary Texts Selections from: Erodoto, Storie. I Classici della BUR. 3 vols. I Presocratici. Testimonianze e Frammenti. Edizioni Laterza. 2 vols.
For the purposes of this workshop, the three main Hippocratic texts are the treatises On Ancient Medicine (De prisca medicina), On the Art of Medicine (De arte), and On Seed and On the Nature of the Child. They are available, with Greek text and English translation in Hippocrates. Loeb Classical Texts vol. I (On Ancient Medicine), vol. II (On the Art of Medicine) and vol. XI (On Seed, On the Nature of the Child).
A very good Italian translation of the treatise On Seed and On the Nature of the Child is available here: Ippocrate, La natura del bambino dal seme alla nascita. A cura di Franco Giorgianni. Sellerio editore 2012.
Secondary texts. For Herodotus, choose one of the following essays: A. Momigliano, "The Place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography." In A. Momigliano, Studies in Historiography. London 1966: 127-142. A. Momigliano, "The Herodotean and the Thucydidean Tradition." In A. Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography. California University Press 1989.
For the Hippocratic text On the Art of Medicine, choose one of the following texts: A. Iori, Medicina e medici nell'antica grecia. Saggio sul Peri technes ippocratico. Il Mulino 1996 J. Mann, Hippocrates, On the Art of Medicine. Brill 2012.
For the Hippocratic text On Ancient Medicine, choose one of the following texts: M. Schiefsky, Hippocrates, On Ancient Medicine. Brill 2005 J. M. Cooper, "Method and Science in On Ancient Medicine." In J. M. Cooper, Knowledge, Nature, and the Good. Essays on Ancient Philosophy. Princeton University Press 2004: 3-42.
Assessement methods and criteria
In order to pass this class, the student required to participate in the in-class activities and to write a short essay on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor (maximum 2,500 words). The student will not receive a specific grade for the workshop (pass/fail only). Attendance is mandatory