History of political philosophy (MA)

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
SPS/02
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to provide students with the theoretical and methodological tools of the history of political philosophy. The student will be able to deal with the texts of the history of political philosophy in a rigorous and critical way; s/he will be able to recognize the main rhetorical devices and the conceptual structures at work in them; s/he will master those interdisciplinary skills necessary for the formulation of an autonomous critical judgment on the texts and their interpretation. The student will acquire the ability to apply the knowledge gained in the study of the history of political philosophy to the rethinking of contemporary political problems.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student:
1. masters in-depth knowledge of the theories and the themes dealt in the history of political philosophy, and can identify and discuss their crucial points;
2. surely masters the argumentative forms, concepts, and theoretical meaning of the texts in the history of political philosophy;
3. understands the diversity of interpretations to which texts in political philosophy are subjected in different historical, cultural and linguistic contexts;

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student:
1. Can critically apply the knowledge acquired studying specific texts and authors to the historical understanding and philosophical contextualization of other works and thinkers;
2. Can confidently and autonomously apply the acquired understanding of interpretations to texts and problems different from those previously studied;
3. Can surely master the methodological resources and bibliographic tools of political-philosophical research and s/he is able to produce original research, to discuss the results acquired.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second semester
Teaching methods

The lessons will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed both synchronously based on the timetable and asynchronously because they will be recorded and left available to students on the Ariel platform.

Program and reference material
The program and reference material will not be changed.

Methods of learning assessment and evaluation criteria
The examination consists of a preliminary written test on a subject to be agreed upon, to be handed in to the professor at least two weeks before the oral examination, and an oral test aimed at ascertaining a thorough knowledge of the texts and topics on the syllabus.
Course syllabus
Course title: Axel Honneth's Critical Theory

The course will last 60 hours and will provide 9 CFUs.

Didactic Unit A (20 hours and 3 CFU):
Conflict and Recognition

Didactic Unit B (20 hours and 3 CFU):
Misrecognition and reification

Didactic unit C (20 hours and 3 CFU):
Rethinking Hegel's Legacy: The Elements of a Democratic Ethical Life

Course presentation
The aim of the course is to reconstruct the most important phases of the development of the critical theory elaborated by Axel Honneth, during the last thirty years. An attempt will be made to highlight and analyse how Honneth comes to terms with the philosophers of the first generation of the so-called Frankfurt School, and how he distances himself from his teacher Jürgen Habermas. Particular attention will be paid to Honneth's dialogue with large sectors of contemporary Anglo-Saxon political philosophy and with some recent developments in psychoanalysis (Donald W. Winnicott, Wilfred Bion, Jessica Benjamin and others). His attempt to reformulate some theses of the Hegelian philosophy of right concerning the constitution of the sphere of ethical life will be analysed in a careful and critical way, in order to highlight some internal tensions.

Supplementary activities: The course foresees the active participation of the students, through the presentation of reports, group work and classroom discussions.

The course is intended for students of Philosophical Sciences (Class Lm-78).
Prerequisites for admission
The course is addressed to Master's degree students and presupposes the basic knowledge of the history of modern philosophy, the history of contemporary philosophy and the history of political thought acquired during the three-year bachelor course of study.
Teaching methods
The course will be taught by the teacher with lectures.
The lectures will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed both synchronously, based on the timetable, and asynchronously, because they will be recorded and left available to students on the Ariel platform.
At the end of each lecture, an adequate space will be left for a discussion of the main conceptual issues addressed.
Every two or three weeks some lessons will be devoted to the presentation of group work prepared by the students.
Teaching Resources
Readings and assignments for attending and non-attending students

Learning Unit A - Examination programme for attending and non-attending students:
A. Honneth, Lotta per il riconoscimento. Proposte per un'etica del conflitto,
Milan, Il Saggiatore, 2002
Axel Honneth, Riconoscimento. Storia di un'idea europea, Milan, Feltrinelli, 2019.


Learning Unit B - Examination programme for attending and non-frequenting students:
Axel Honneth, Reificazione. Sulla teoria del riconoscimento, Milano, Meltemi, 2019.
Axel Honneth, La libertà negli altri. Saggi di filosofia sociale, a cura di Barbara Carnevali, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017 (a selection of some essays in the volume).


Learning Unit C - Examination programme for attending and non-frequenting students:
Axel Honneth, Il dolore dell'indeterminato. Una attualizzazione della filosofia politica di Hegel, Roma, Manifestolibri, 2003;
Axel Honneth, Il diritto della libertà. Lineamenti per un'eticità democratica, prefazione di Gustavo Zagrebelsky, Torino, Codice Edizioni, 2015


Students who did not include and pass an exam of "History of Political Philosophy" during their three-years bachelor course are required to study the following textbook for the exam:
B. Henry, A. Loretoni, A. Pirni, M. Solinas, a cura di, Filosofia politica, Milano, Mondadori Università 2020.
Students in this situation will have to talk to the professor in order to obtain a partial reduction in the programme for the three units.

The 6-credit examination programme for attending and non-attending students includes the preparation of the first and second units (and the preparation of the textbook «Filosofia politica», Milano, Mondadori Università 2020 for those students who did not include and pass an exam of "History of Political Philosophy" during their three-years bachelor course).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Examination procedure: Written + oral:

The exam consists of a preliminary written test on a subject to be agreed upon, to be handed in to the professor at least two weeks before the oral exam, and an oral test aimed at ascertaining a thorough knowledge of the texts and topics on the syllabus.
In the oral test, in particular, the degree of understanding and precise knowledge of the texts will be assessed: students will have to show that they know how to approach philosophical texts in a rigorous and critical manner, contextualising them and recognising the conceptual and argumentative devices at work in them. The oral exam will also assess the students' ability to master the main philosophical problems addressed and to discuss general issues by adopting the appropriate methodological perspectives. Students will have to show that they are able to discuss the arguments of the various authors and the main problems addressed, using an adequate vocabulary and taking into account the most important contributions of the historiography of reference.
In sum, the following will be assessed during the exam
- the knowledge of the conceptual aspects addressed during the course (exposition);
- the ability to analyse the concepts (comprehension);
- the autonomy of judgment and the ability to apply the concepts (development);
- communication skills and the adequacy of language.

Students are required to bring their texts with them to the oral test: the examination may begin by reading and commenting on some significant passages from a philosophical work analysed during the course.
Unita' didattica A
SPS/02 - HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
SPS/02 - HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
SPS/02 - HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)