History of ancient philosophy

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
M-FIL/07
Language
English
Learning objectives
This is a course in History of Ancient Philosophy (M-FIL/07). A first objective of the course is to develop a systematic and in-depth knowledge of ancient philosophy from the beginnings to late antiquity through a critical engagement with both primary texts and the relevant secondary literature. A second objective is the promotion of a historically accurate, and theoretically sophisticated, understanding of the primary texts (if possible, in their original Greek or Latin language). A third and final objective of the course consists in the study of the subsequent reception of the primary texts and the formation of the various philosophical traditions. Each tradition can be usefully regarded as a distinct style of philosophy dealing with specific philosophical problems.
Expected learning outcomes
2. Anticipated Learning Outcomes
a. Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of the course, the student will be able to engage critically with an ancient philosophical text. The student will also master the different styles of ancient philosophy through a study of the philosophical problems that present themselves within each philosophical tradition. Last but not least, the student will be able to consolidate their ability to communicate the knowledge acquired in the field of ancient philosophy.

b. Ability to Apply Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of the course, the student will be able to apply the historical, philological, and philosophical skills acquired in the study of ancient philosophy to authors and texts that are central to the history of philosophy beyond the narrow boundaries of ancient philosophy. The student will also be able to apply the exegetical skills acquired in the study of the ancient philosophical traditions to the study of problems that are still relevant to our philosophical agenda.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second semester
This course was originally designed as an on-campus course. However, to provide continuity of service in an extraordinary situation, the instructor has also planned the remote delivery of the course. The remote delivery of the course will comprise both asynchronous and synchronous components. For the synchronous activities, the instructor will use the video conference platform Microsoft Teams. For the asynchronous activities, the instructor will employ the learning platform Moodle.
Course syllabus
In the first part of this course (50 hours), we will engage in an in-depth critical study of Aristotle's De anima. We will read and discuss the entire work in English translation. Since the translation depends on specific philological and philosophical decisions, we will have to refer to the original Greek text as needed.

In the second part of the course (10 hours), we will study the reception of Aristotle's noetics in the ancient world. By "noetics" I mean the claims that Aristotle makes on the topic of nous/intellect. We will concentrate our attention on Alexander of Aphrodisias and Themistius. Their reconstruction of the Aristotelian position was transmitted first to the Arabic and then to the Latin worlds. It determined the subsequent fortune of Aristotle's De anima (not just his noetics) in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Prerequisites for admission
None. The language of instruction is English.
Teaching methods
The teaching method will consist in a combination of frontal lectures (mostly devoted to explicating the text of the De anima) and classroom discussion.
Teaching Resources
We will adopt the following English translation of the De anima:

(a) Aristotle, De anima. Translated with an Introduction and Commentary by Christopher Shields. Clarendon Aristotle Series. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016.

This translation is accompanied by a wealth of endnotes. Taken together, these endnotes provide a first orientation to the study of this difficult text. Since we will make systematic use of them, the student is required to buy this particular textbook.

Knowledge of ancient Greek is not required. However, we will make a few references to the Greek text as needed. Awaiting a critical edition of the Greek text based on all the manuscripts, the most reliable edition of the De anima is still the one produced by Aurél Föster in 1912. The apparatus criticus of this edition is superior to the one produced by David Ross for the Oxford Classical Texts (Ross 1956) and Antonio Jannone for the Budé series (Jannone 1966). The text produced by Föster is reprinted in the following German translation of the De anima (the Greek text is facing the translation):

(b) K. Corcilius, Aristoteles, Űber die Seele/De anima. Griechisch-Deutch. Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 2017.

For the study of the reception of Aristotle's noetics in antiquity we will use the following texts:

(c) A. P. Fotinis (tr.), The De anima of Alexander of Aphrodisias. University Press of America, Washington DC 1979.
(d) F. M. Schroeder and R. B. Todd (eds.) Two Greek Aristotelian Commentators on the Intellect. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto 1990.

Textbooks (a), (c), and (d) are required texts for attending as well as non-attending students. Textbook (b) is optional
Assessment methods and Criteria
The attending student can choose between the following options

Option 1: The final grade is determined by a term essay. The essay must be in the range of 5,000-6,000 words (bibliography excluded). It must be in English. The student must engage in a close study of one or more aspects of Aristotle's De anima and its reception in antiquity. The title and the topic of the term essay must be discussed in advance with the instructor. Once a title and a topic are firmed up, they cannot be changed. There will be no exceptions to the rule. Please do not ask for one.

Option 2: The final graded is determined by two short essays. In this case, each essay is worth 50% of the final grade. Each term essay must be in the range of 3,000-3,500 words. Each essay must be in English. It must engage in a close study and discussion of one or more aspects of Aristotle's De anima and its reception in antiquity. The title and the topic of each essay must be discussed in advance with the instructor. Once a title and a topic are firmed up, they cannot be changed. There will be no exceptions to the rule. Please do not ask for one.

By "attending student" I mean a student who has attended at least 2/3 of the course (40 hours).

Non-attending students will have to write a term essay in the range of 5,000-6,000 words (bibliography excluded). The essay must be in English. The student must engage in a close study of one or more aspects of Aristotle's De anima and its reception in antiquity. The title and the topic of the term essay must be discussed in advance with the instructor. Once a title and a topic are firmed up, they cannot be changed. There will be no exceptions to the rule. Please do not ask for one.

The term essay (or the two short essays) must be transmitted by email in docx or PDF format no later than 9:00am on the day of the exam by writing at the following email account: andrea.falcon@unimi.it.
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/07 - HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/07 - HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/07 - HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor(s)