History of contemporary philosophy

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
M-FIL/06
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course, which belongs to the area of History of Philosophy, contributes to an in-depth critical knowledge of the history of philosophy from the Antiquity to contemporary debates. Aim of the course is to develop a systematic, in-depth knowledge of significant moments in the history of contemporary philosophy through a critical engagement with both primary texts and the relevant secondary literature.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student
understands the vocabulary and knows the methods, the aims and the main subjects of contemporary philosophy;
masters a systematic and in-depth knowledge of the history of contemporary philosophy, based on the study of primary and secondary literature;
has a philologically well-grounded knowledge of the sources of the texts s/he deals with;
understands the historical and philosophical meaning of the texts (read also in their original language) and the transformations of traditions, concepts and argumentative forms of philosophical views;
understands the diverse interpretive takes on the primary sources through different cultural and linguistic contexts;
has proficient knowledge of the bibliographic resources and methodological tools for research on contemporary philosophy.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student
can soundly and adequately make use of the knowledge of the vocabulary, methods, and the main subjects of contemporary philosophy;
can critically apply the acquired knowledge to historical contextualisation of authors and texts;
is able to assess the contemporary philosophical debate and to apply the acquired knowledge on the historical development of the argumentative forms and traditions of thought to the analysis of new texts and philosophical views;
is able to acknowledge the transformation of classical paradigms, traditions and perspectives;
can confidently and independently apply various interpretations to different topics and new problems;
masters the methodological and bibliographic tools of historical-philosophical research to produce original research and discuss the results obtained in presenting them to others, both specialists and non-specialists.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
The class will be held via Microsoft Teams in synchronous mode. The recordings will be uploaded on the Ariel site of the course.
The course programme and the required texts will not undergo any change.
Exams will take place via Microsoft Teams or, when possible, in presence, as determined in the programme.
Course syllabus
The Revival of Virtue Ethics in the 20th Century

Since the 1950s, an increasingly influential position in moral philosophy has advocated a reappraisal of the aims of ethical thinking and the recovery of ancient approaches to ethical issues. Against modern moral philosophy in general, ethics should move past the centrality of deontic concepts and frame ethical issues in virtue-related concepts. The multifaceted discussion ensuing from this opposition had a large impact on philosophy up to the present day, also beyond the boundaries of ethics. Taking its historical background into account, the course shall examine the development of this debate in three main steps. First, we shall consider the main voices in the opposition to modern moral philosophy and moral theory altogether in the second half of the 20th Century, mainly with regard to the work of Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot and Bernard Williams. Second, we shall examine the ways in which virtue ethics was developed as a new form of a normative ethical theory. Third, the course shall finally consider some of the main criticisms to virtue ethics and aspects of the recent discussion.
Prerequisites for admission
A good knowledge of the history of philosophy, with special regard to modern philosophy, as is provided by the B.A. philosophy course, is advisable.
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons, with PowerPoint presentations, mainly focused on introducing and commenting the texts included in the course programme.
Seminar discussions with brief presentation by the students.
Writing exercise.
Teaching Resources
(NB: A list of literature in English is available upon request to the instructor.)

For both 6 and 9 cfu the following literature is requested:

G.E.M. Anscombe, "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958), in R. Crisp, M. Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, 1997, 239-262 (available on-line via unimi login: https://www-jstor-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/stable/3749051).
Ph. Foot, "Moral Arguments" (1958), in Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, Oxford, Blackwell, 1978, chap. 7 (available on-line via unimi login: https://www-jstor-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/stable/2251201).
Ph. Foot, "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives" (1972), in Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, Oxford, Blackwell, 1978, chap. 11 (available on-line via unimi login: https://www-jstor-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/stable/2184328).
B. Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, London, Fontana, 1985, chap. 10: "Morality, the peculiar institution". (The chapter is also reprinted in R. Crisp, M. Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, 1997, 45-65.)
Ph. Foot, "Virtues and Vices", in: Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, Oxford, Blackwell, 1978, 1-18.
J. McDowell, "Virtue and Reason" (1979), in R. Crisp, M. Slote (a cura di), Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, 1997, 141-162 (available on-line via unimi login: https://www-jstor-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/stable/27902600).
M. C. Nussbaum, "Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach", Midwest Studies In Philosophy 13 (1988), 32-53.
R. Hursthouse, On Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1999: Introduction and chap. 1.
M. Slote, "Agent-Based Virtue Ethics", in R. Crisp, M. Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, 1997, 239-262.
M. Nussbaum, "Virtue Ethics: A Misleading Category?", The Journal of Ethics 3 (1999), 163-201 (available on-line via unimi login: https://doi-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/10.1023/A:1009877217694).
J. Driver, Uneasy Virtue, Cambridge University Press, 2001, chap. 4.
A. Baril; A. Hazlett, "The Revival of Virtue Ethics", in I. D. Thomson, K. Becker (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945-2015, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 223-236.

For 9 cfu the following additional titles are also mandatory:

R. Louden, "On Some Vices of Virtue Ethics" (1984), in R. Crisp, M. Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, 1997, 201-216 (available on-line via unimi login: https://www-jstor-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/stable/20014051).
J. M. Doris, "Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics", Noûs 32 (1998), 504-530 (available on-line via unimi login: https://www-jstor-org.pros.lib.unimi.it/stable/2671873).
B. Hooker, "The Collapse of Virtue Ethics", Utilitas 14 (2002), 22-40.
Th. Hurka, Virtue, Vice and Value, Oxford University Press, 2001, chap. 8: "Against Virtue Ethics".
R. Crisp, "A Third Method of Ethics?", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2015), 257-73 (available on-line via unimi login: https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.pros.lib.unimi.it/doi/full/10.1111/j.19…).

For non-attending students:

besides the literature listed above the following book is also mandatory (both for 6 and for 9 cfu):

A. Campodonico, M. Croce, M.S. Vaccarezza, Etica delle virtù. Un'introduzione, Roma, Carocci, 2017 (capp. 1-3).

(NB: A list of literature in English for non-attending students can be requested to the instructor.)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exams, which will cover the topics of the class and the texts included in the programme.
Oral exams will also deal with a brief paper (max. 20000 characters long), in which the students shall discuss one of the texts included in the programme in detail.
The students will send their papers to the instructor at least five working days before the date of the exam in order to enlist for the oral exam.
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/06 - HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/06 - HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/06 - HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours