A first goal of this workshop is to develop the student's skills in reading and analyzing ancient philosophical text, with a focus on Plato's Timaeus.
A second, related, goal is to consolidate the student's ability to communicate the knowledge acquired with a focus on the debate between Plato and his predecessors.
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)
In the Timaeus Plato adopts, and indeed adapts, some aspects of the Presocratic tradition of natural investigation,. As a result, the Timaeus is a sustained reflection on the Presocratic tradition of natural investigation. In this workshop, we will focus on a few salient aspects of this reflection.
By attending this workshop, the student is entitled to 3 ECTS. The workshop is open to all students of the degree course in Philosophy as well as to all students 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 I Presocratici: testimonianze e frammenti. Edizioni Laterza. 2 volumi. Il Timeo di Platone. In Platone, Tutti gli scritti, a cura di Giovanni Reale. Rusconi.
Secondary literature M. F. Burnyeat, "Eikos Mythos." In Rhizai, A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science. Vol II. 2 (2005): 143-165. M. Frede, "Being and Becoming." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy Supplementary volume 1988: 37-52. S. Menn, The Timaeus and the Critique of Presocratic Vortices." In R. Mohr and B. Sattler (eds.) One Book, The Whole University. Plato's Timaeus Today. Parmenides Publishing 2010: 141-150.
The student will have to read one of the following texts:
T. K. Johansen, Plato's Natural Philosophy. A study of the Timaeus-Critias. Cambridge University Press 2004. S. Broadie, Nature and Divinity in Plato's Timaeus. Cambridge University Press 2012. J. Bryan, Likeness and Likelihood in the Presocratics and Plato. Cambridge University Press 2012.
Assessment methods and Criteria
In order to pass this class, the student is required to participate in the in-class activities and to write a final essay on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor (maximum 2,500 words). The student will not receive a specific grade for this workshop (pass/fail only). Attendance is mandatory.