History of medieval philosophy

A.Y. 2019/2020
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
M-FIL/08
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to provide students, through the study of relevant authors and problems, with a general understanding of the history of medieval thought and its contribution to the development of ideas, argumentative forms and philosophical and scientific lexicon. The course also aims to provide students with the cognitive tools that allow them to read critically and comment autonomously on a philosophical text.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding

At the end of the course, the student

- knows the fundamental aspects of the history of Western medieval thought, learning to orient oneself in the historical context, in the traditions, in the problems and in the terminology of a decisive phase of the development of the history of philosophy
- knows the fundamental philosophical lexicon, the literary genres, the argumentative forms of medieval thought
- knows the basic methodological tools of research in the history of philosophy
- understands the relationships connecting the history of Western medieval philosophy to the history of scientific thought, to political history, to society and to theological and religious tradition.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding

At the end of the study path, the student

- can apply the knowledge acquired in the historical context of the authors and texts
- is able to apply the knowledge acquired in vocabulary, argumentation and text analysis to the analysis and interpretation of other texts
- can apply the basic knowledge and reading methods learned in class to other philosophical texts.
Course syllabus and organization

A

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
This course is recommended for students attending the second year of the Philosophy course (6 and 9 ECTS) and to all students of other courses of the University of Milan who are interested in medieval philosophy. It aims at providing

1. an introduction to the most important philosophical traditions and major figures of medieval thought
2. a thorough reading of the Dialogue of the Philosopher with a Jew and a Christian and the Ethics by Peter Abelard, focusing on the notion of natural law, on the relationship between moral intention and sin, on the comparison between philosophy and revealed religions.
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is needed, but it is best to have a basic knowledge of ancienf philosophy
Teaching methods
Lectures
Teaching Resources
Readings and assignments for both 6 and 9 ECTS exams:


1) One of the following handbooks:
- S. Simonetta, La filosofia nel Medioevo, in Filosofia cultura cittadinanza, a cura di A. La Vergata-F. Trabattoni, vol. 1, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 2011, pp. 438-590 (praevious edition: S. Simonetta, Il Medioevo, in Filosofia e cultura, a cura di A. La Vergata-F. Trabattoni, vol. 1, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 2007, pp. 454-481 e pp. 516-689);
- C. Esposito, P. Porro, Filosofia antica e medievale, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2008, pp. 212-233, 252-282, 284-291, 300-376, 384-391, 394-404.
2) Pietro Abelardo, Etica, a cura di M. Fumagalli Beonio Brocchieri, Milano, Mimesis 2014
3) J. Jolivet, Abelardo. Dialettica e mistero, Jaca Book, Milano 1996.

Additional assignments for non-attending students

L. Bianchi, "L'acculturazione filosofica dell'Occidente" e "Le università e il 'decollo scientifico' dell'Occidente" in La filosofia nelle Università: secoli XIII-XIV, a cura di L. Bianchi, La Nuova Italia, Firenze 1997, pp. 1-61.

Additional assignments for 9 ECTS exam

Pietro Abelardo, Dialogo fra un filosofo, un giudeo e un cristiano, a cura di C. Trovò, Rizzoli, Milano 1992 e ss.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final examination consists of an oral exam, whose purpose is to test the knowledge and skills acquired by students. The grading system for the final exam is based on a 0-30 scale, 18 being the lowest passing mark. Evaluation criteria:
- knowledge of the handbook, of the texts and of the essays examined during the course (knowledge);
- ability to understand concepts and arguments (understanding)
- ability to critically evaluate different interpretations of texts and historical problems (development);
- use of language (exposition)
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/08 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/08 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/08 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours

B

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
To be speechless. The question of God's ineffability in medieval thought
1. The general context
Introduction to medieval philosophical and theological languages. The origins of the tradition of negative theology: the body of writings of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite
2. Going back to God by exclusion: negative theology from the Carolingian age to the 12th century
3. Talking about God in university classrooms: Thomas Aquinas
The theme of divine names is dealt with as it was dealt with by Thomas, starting from the doctrines formulated by Moses Maimonides

The course is recommended for students in the 2nd year of Philosophy, but can also be followed by their colleagues enrolled in other years and, more generally, it is open to all degree courses that include the possibility of choosing the History of Medieval Philosophy exam for 9 or 6 cfu. In particular: Letters (Class L-10, for those enrolled from academic year 2011-12), Philology, Literature and History of Antiquity (Class LM-15, for those enrolled from academic year 2011-12).
The split between History of Medieval Philosophy A and B does not imply the obligation for students to divide according to the initial of the surname: students can freely choose which course to follow according to their interests. Students who bring the program of 6 credits are required to prepare Unit A and a second one, according to what during the course has attracted their attention most.
No additional teaching activities or exercises are foreseen.
Prerequisites for admission
The most useful prerequisite is a good high school (or university) preparation in History of Ancient Philosophy.
Teaching methods
Lectures
Teaching Resources
Readings and assignments for attending students:

1. 1. In order to acquire an adequate knowledge of the development of medieval thought all students are required to use one of the following tools:

- S. Simonetta, La filosofia nel Medioevo, in Filosofia cultura cittadinanza, ed. by A. La Vergata-F. Trabattoni, vol. 1, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 2011, pp. 438-590;
- S. Simonetta, Il Medioevo, in Filosofia e cultura, ed. by A. La Vergata-F. Trabattoni, vol. 1, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 2007, pp. 454-481 e pp. 516-689.

1.2. Dionigi Areopagita, Tutte le opere, Milano, Rusconi, 1981, Gerarchia celeste, pp. 80-89, Nomi divini, pp. 252-264, 292-293, 335-341, 346-372, 390-397, Teologia mistica, pp. 405-414, Lettere: pp. 419-425
(available on e-learning course https://ssimonettasfm.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v5/home/Default.aspx).

2.1. Giovanni Scoto, De divisione naturae, in S. Vanni Rovighi (ed.), La prima scolastica, Milano, Marzorati, 1953, pp. 646-659 (available on Ariel);
2.2. Anselmo d'Aosta, Proslogion, Milano, Rizzoli, 1992, pp. 119-129; Pietro Abelardo, Teologia del sommo bene, Milano, Bompiani, 2009, pp. 105-115, 135-137 e 145-147 (available on Ariel);
2.3. Alano di Lilla, Le regole del diritto celeste, Palermo, Officina di Studi Medievali, 2002, pp. 61-87 e 95-97 (available on Ariel);
2.4. G. Zuanazzi, Pensare l'assente: alle origini della teologia negativa, Roma, Città Nuova, 2005, pp. 11-22, 36-48, 63-76, 88-136 (available on Ariel).

3.1. Mosè Maimonide, La Guida dei perplessi, Torino, UTET, 2003, pp. 184-218 (available on Ariel);
3.2. Tommaso d'Aquino, Somma contro i Gentili, Torino, UTET, 1975, pp. 91-155 e 267-277 (available on Ariel);
3.3. Tommaso d'Aquino, La somma teologica, Bologna, Edizioni Studio Domenicano, 1989, Prima Parte, pp. 51-53, 64-65, 101-113 e 136-144 (available on Ariel).


Additional readings and assignments for non-attending students:

1.3. S. Simonetta, Senza parole. Il tema dell'indicibilità di Dio nella riflessione medievale, Milano, Unicopli, 2011;
2.5. C. Vasoli, La "theologia apothetica" di Alano di Lilla, in «Rivista critica di storia della filosofia», 16 (1961), pp. 16-39 (available on Ariel);
3.4. S. Vanni Rovighi, Introduzione a Tommaso d'Aquino, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1973 (e seguenti), pp. 54-68 (available on Ariel);
3.5. A. Ghisalberti, Medioevo teologico, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1990, pp. 85-95 (available on Ariel).
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final examination consists of a 30 minutes oral exam, whose purpose is to test the knowledge and skills acquired by students. The grading system for the final exam is based on a 0-30 scale, 18 being the lowest passing mark. Evaluation criteria:
- knowledge of the handbook, of the texts and of the essays examined during the course (knowledge);
- ability to understand concepts and arguments (understanding)
- ability to critically evaluate different interpretations of texts and historical problems (development);
- use of language (exposition).
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/08 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/08 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/08 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor(s)
Reception:
every Friday morning, from 10 am to 1 pm
Department of Philosophy, first floor (or on Teams or Skype)