The course aims at - introducing students to the fundamental tools for the analysis of politics and institutions; - providing knowledge of the main issues discussed in contemporary philosophy of the social sciences, with particular emphasis on social ontology and rational choice theory.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will have acquired - some basic skills in the formation and use of scientific concepts and theories; - some basic analytical and theoretical tools for understanding and studying politics and institutions in their social contexts as well as knowledge of some causal mechanisms typically recurring in such contexts; - the ability of conducting "power analyses" of social and political situations; - the ability to identify and interpret broad dynamics of political and institutional change in a historical and comparative perspective; - substantive systematic knowledge of the "European model" (market economy, liberal democracy, the welfare state and European integration) and the challenges now facing it; - the capacity to understand the theories that philosophers, psychologists, biologists and economists have put forward to explain the emergence of institutions; - knowledge of the cognitive skills that allow human beings to engage in coordination and cooperation, on a scale of complexity that is unknown in the natural world; - the ability to analyse and critically assess the main arguments brought in favour and against different views concerning the nature and functions of institutions, and the emergence of cooperation; - the capacity to identify the ways in which these debates may be resolved, and how their solutions may contribute to scientific progress and understanding; - the capacity to present the main arguments independently, satisfying the main requirements of scholarly writing.
Lesson period: First trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)