History of modern philosophy

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
M-FIL/06
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course aims to allow students to acquire the methodological and critical tools characterising philosophical studies in the history of early modern philosophy, in their different articulations, together with a sound general knowledge of the historical evolution of modern philosophical thought. To comply with the typically interdisciplinary character of philosophical research, the course also enables students to acquire adequate historical, linguistic and philological training, according to the study of the early modern age
The analysis of a central theme of metaphysics and its evolutions during the 17th and 18th centuries will allow the student to develop an in-depth knowledge of the various phases of the early modern philosophical tradition and the intersections between metaphysical, theological and moral perspectives.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student
1. masters a systematic and in-depth knowledge of the history of early modern philosophy, acquired through the reading of some classics of the early modern period and the study of secondary literature
2. has a philologically sound knowledge of the sources of early modern texts
3. understands the historical and theoretical meaning of early modern texts (also in their original language) and the transformations of traditions, concepts and argumentative forms over time
4. understands the various interpretations of texts analysed in different chronological, cultural and linguistic contexts in the early modern tradition
5. has proficient knowledge of the bibliographic resources and methodological tools characterising the historical-philosophical research, with special reference to the early modern period.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student
1. can apply the knowledge acquired in framing historically authors and texts from the early modern period
2. can soundly and adequately make use of the early modern philosophical lexicon, with philological awareness
3. can apply the acquired knowledge on the historical development of the argumentative forms, traditions of the early modern thought to the analysis of new textual and theoretical problems
4. can master and apply the methodological resources and bibliographic tools of historical-philosophical research in the early modern context and can produce original research, discussing the results obtained and presenting them to others.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second semester
During the ongoing covid emergency, the course syllabus will be maintained with the following changes made to enhance the effectiveness of the online version of the course, which was originally designed for face-to-face teaching.

Online environments used:

Ariel: https://afrigosfmlm.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v5/Home/

MSTeams: Alberto FRIGO, Corso STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA MODERNA LM L'invenzione del sentimento di esistenza, Descartes Condillac, Rousseau code 292nx11

Teaching methods:
Classes will be held according to the following risk scenarios:
- high severity (orange and yellow zone): classes will be held partiallt remotely in synchronous mode (using MSTeams) and partially in presence:
a. March 1 in presence lesson pro week (Monday 11.30-13).
b. April-May 2 in presence lessons pro week (Monday 11.30-13; Friday 11.30-13).
The calendar of in person lessons and updates will be published on the online course platform.

Learning assessment procedures and evaluation criteria:
The exam is oral and is held on MSTeams in any emergency situation, whether yellow, orange or red zone, in compliance with the guidelines provided by the University. The online course on Ariel will make available constantly updated details about the oral examination sessions that will be held over several days.
Students wishing to participate in face-to-face lessons must refer to the following University provisions: https://www.unimi.it/it/studiare/frequentare-un-corso-di-laurea/seguire…
Students wishing to participate in MSTeams lessons must refer to the following technical guides: https://www.unimi.it/it/studiare/servizi-gli-studenti/servizi-tecnologi…
To participate in the exam sessions, students must refer to the following provisions: https://www.unimi.it/it/studiare/frequentare-un-corso-di-laurea/seguire….
Course syllabus
The invention of the sentiment of existence: Descartes, Condillac Rousseau

Descartes' Metaphysical Meditations mark a turning point in the history of the concept of existence. With Descartes, the notion of existence doubles. On the one hand, there is the existence of the thinking ego, the object of an immediate and unquestionable experience. On the other hand, there is the existence of external things (God, other minds and the world) which must be proven from an efficient causal relationship. This splitting of the notion of existence leads 17th and 18th century thinkers to invent a new concept: that of "sentiment of existence". What does it mean to feel oneself existing? Is it an innate feeling or does it develop in the course of learning and the sensitive discovery of the outside world? What is the relationship between the feeling of one's own existence and other similar feelings such as the feeling of living organically, the pleasure of existing or, above all, the feeling of our own mortality?
Condillac and Rousseau take up Descartes' metaphysical challenge and try to answer these questions. And in doing so, they find, unexpectedly, some intuitions of Aristotelian philosophy.

The course will be organized in three modules

I. The turning point of Descartes
The Cartesian theses will be analysed in detail, placing them within the long history of the concept of existence from Aristotle to scholastic metaphysics.

II. Condillac: from sensation to the sentiment of existence
The Treaty on sensations is the first attempt to analyse in detail the genesis of the feeling of existence. It is an extreme experiment that seeks to retrace the prehistory of human faculties and thus reveal their exact nature and unsuspected continuity.

III. Rousseau: sentiment and morality
Rousseau's Émile narratively stages the development of psychic life, from the first, uncertain, forms of interaction with the world to the rise of morality. The feeling of existence becomes the central axis of Rousseau's speculation around which to build a new gnoseology and a new ethics.
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is needed.
Teaching methods
Lectures
Debate and discussion
Teaching Resources
READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR ATTENDING STUDENTS:

Assignments for both 6 and 9 ECTS exams:

I.1 Descartes, Méditations métaphysiques, meditations I, II, III.

I.2. Charles J. McCracken, "Stages on a Cartesian Road to Immaterialism", Journal of the history of philosophy, 1986, 24, 1, pp. 19-40, available in free access through the Unimi library portal and on the course's Ariel website.
I.3. Udo Thiel, "Self and Sensibility: From Locke to Condillac and Rousseau", Intellectual History Review, 2015, 25, 3, pp. 257-278 available in free access through the Unimi library portal and on the course's Ariel website.
I.4. Sergio Landucci, "L'obiezione di Hobbes e la risposta di Cartesio sulla mente", Galilaeana : journal of Galilean studies, XI, 2014, pp. 65-71, ailable in free access through the Unimi library portal and on the course's Ariel website.
I.5. Sergio Landucci, La mente in Cartesio, Milan, Franco Angeli, 2003, chap. II and IV.

II. Condillac, Traité des sensations.

Additional assignments for 9 ECTS exam:

III Rousseau, Émile, books I, II, III, IV.

IV
One book from the following list:
- Sergio Moravia, La scienza dell'uomo nel Settecento, con una appendice di testi, Bari: Laterza, 1970.
- Sergio Moravia, L'enigma dell'esistenza: soggetto, morale, passioni nell'età del disincanto, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1996.
- D. Outram, L'Illuminismo, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2006.
- Jean A. Perkins, The concept of the self in the French Enlightenment, Genève: Droz, 1969.
- Rita Fornari, Condillac. Ontologia ed empirismo, Roma: Aracne Editrice, 2015.
- Isabel F. Knight, The geometric spirit: the Abbé de Condillac and the French Enlightenment, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1968.
- Henri Gouhier, Filosofia e religione in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bari: Laterza, 1977.
- André Charrak, Rousseau de l'empirisme à l'expérience, Paris : Vrin, 2013.
- Pierre Burgelin, La philosophie de l'existence de J.-J. Rousseau, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1952.
- Laurence D. Cooper, Rousseau, nature and the problem of the good life, University Park (Pennsylvania): Pennsylvania State University, 1999.
- David Gauthier, Rousseau: the sentiment of existence, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.
- Barbara Carnevali, Romanticismo e riconoscimento. Figure della coscienza in Rousseau, Bologna: Mulino, 2004.
- Marco Menin, Il libro mai scritto, Bologna: Mulino, 2013.


READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS:

Assignments for both 6 and 9 ECTS exams:

I.1 Descartes, Méditations métaphysiques, meditations I, II, III.

I.2. Charles J. McCracken, "Stages on a Cartesian Road to Immaterialism", Journal of the history of philosophy, 1986, 24, 1, pp. 19-40, available in free access through the Unimi library portal and on the course's Ariel website.
I.3. Udo Thiel, "Self and Sensibility: From Locke to Condillac and Rousseau", Intellectual History Review, 2015, 25, 3, p. 257-278 available in free access through the Unimi library portal and on the course's Ariel website.
I. 4. Sergio Landucci, La mente in Cartesio, Milan, Franco Angeli, 2003, chap. I, II, IV.

II. Condillac, Traité des sensations.

III
One book from the following list:
- Sergio Moravia, La scienza dell'uomo nel Settecento, con una appendice di testi, Bari: Laterza, 1970.
- Sergio Moravia, L'enigma dell'esistenza : soggetto, morale, passioni nell'età del disincanto, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1996.
- D. Outram, L'Illuminismo, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2006.
- Jean A. Perkins, The concept of the self in the French Enlightenment, Genève: Droz, 1969.
- Rita Fornari, Condillac. Ontologia ed empirismo, Aracne Editrice, 2015.
- Isabel F. Knight, The geometric spirit: the Abbé de Condillac and the French Enlightenment, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1968.

Additional assignments for 9 ECTS exam:

IV Rousseau, Émile, books I, II, III, IV.

V
One book from the following list:
- Henri Gouhier, Filosofia e religione in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bari: Laterza, 1977.
- André Charrak, Rousseau de l'empirisme à l'expérience, Paris : Vrin, 2013.
- Pierre Burgelin, La philosophie de l'existence de J.-J. Rousseau, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1952.
- Laurence D. Cooper, Rousseau, nature and the problem of the good life, University Park (Pennsylvania): Pennsylvania State University, 1999.
- David Gauthier, Rousseau: the sentiment of existence, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.
- Barbara Carnevali, Romanticismo e riconoscimento. Figure della coscienza in Rousseau, Bologna: Mulino, 2004.
- Marco Menin, Il libro mai scritto, Bologna: Mulino, 2013.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam: The purpose of the oral exam will be to test the knowledge and skills acquired by students in light of the activities and other course topics.
Evaluation criteria:
- knowledge of the theoretical aspects of the topics discusses during the course;
- ability to formulate and discuss the concepts analyzed;
- capacity of use and apply technical lexicon of early modern metaphysics;
- use of philosophical language being aware of its variations.
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
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)
Reception:
Wednesday, 4-7pm. During the period of partial suspension of in-person teaching due to the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus emergency, office hours will be held remotely. Please write to the teacher to define the modalities.
Dipartimento di Filosofia, Cortile Ghiacciaia, Ist floor.