History of political philosophy

A.Y. 2021/2022
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
SPS/02
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with a solid basic knowledge of the history of political philosophy. Students will acquire skills in textual and conceptual analysis. They will be able to place the classics of political philosophy in their philosophical, linguistic and historical contexts. They will also be able to deal with the main historiographical interpretations, showing thereby that they have acquired good hermeneutic competences.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- understand the concepts and lines of argument used by classical authors;
- make use of a reasonable knowledge of the fundamental aspects of the history of Western political philosophy from antiquity to the present day (with special focus on the classics);
- know the fundamental lexicon of political philosophy in its historical development;
- explain the links between the history of political philosophy and its historical context;
- master the basic methodological tools of the research in history political philosophy.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- apply the understanding of concepts and argumentative forms to the analysis of complex texts written by political philosophers;
- apply the knowledge acquired studying specific texts and authors to the historical understanding and philosophical contextualization of other works and thinkers; 
- apply the political-philosophical lexicon to the analysis and discussion of contemporary problems;
- apply the understanding of the historical relationships between political thought and other forms of knowledge to the analysis and discussion of texts and problems;
- make use of basic methodological tools and bibliographic resources to the preparation of a scientific paper in the political-philosophical domain.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Course Title:
Anthropology, History, and Politics in Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
(60 hours - 9 CFU)

Course presentation
The course aims, first of all, to introduce students to the key concepts of political philosophy and to present some significant moments of its historical development.
It will then focus on some essential aspects of the philosophical reflection of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1. First module - Learning Unit A (3 CFU)

1.1 Recurrent problems and fundamental concepts of political philosophy
Students are required to prepare one of the following texts:
S. Petrucciani, Modelli di filosofia politica, Torino, Einaudi, 2003;
B. Henry, A. Loretoni, A. Pirni, M. Solinas, eds., Political Philosophy, Milan, Mondadori University 2020.

1.2. Human history between progress and decadence
Reference texts:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts (1750).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality among men (1755)

2. Second Module - Learning Unit B (3 CFU)

2.1. The question of inequality: conceptual problems
Reference text:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality among men

2.2. The problem of evil: between history and politics
Reference text:
Letter from J.-J. Rousseau to Voltaire (August 18, 1756)

3. Third module - Didactic Unit C (3 CFU)

3.1. A political community for equals:
the basic proposal of "The Social Contract".
Reference text:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762).

3.2. Politics and history after "The Social Contract":
the "Draft Constitution for Corsica" and the "Considerations on the
government of Poland".

Reference texts:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Project of constitution for Corsica
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Considerations on the government of Poland

Please note:

1. The teacher is available to agree on partial changes to the exam programme, in response to a motivated request from the students, made during office hours.
2. Those who have already taken the History of Political Philosophy A or History of Political Philosophy B exam and intend to take it for the second time are required to contact the teacher to agree on the programme, in relation to their previous preparation and their research interests.
3. International students or incoming Erasmus students are invited to contact the teacher in charge of the course promptly.
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites are required.
Teaching methods
The course will be taught by the teacher with lectures. At the end of each lecture, there will be a discussion of the problems faced and key concepts illustrated.
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.
If the overall health situation allows it and in compliance with the regulations in force, there may be activities in presence in classroom, of which students will be appropriately informed through notices on the Ariel website.
Teaching Resources
Attending students, who bring the course for a total of 9 CFUs to the examination, will be required to prepare the following texts:

1.1 Recurring Problems and Fundamental Concepts in Philosophy.
Optionally, one of the following volumes:
S. Petrucciani, "Modelli di filosofia politica", Turin, Einaudi, 2003,
or
B. Henry, A. Loretoni, A. Pirni, M. Solinas, eds, "Political Philosophy," Milan, Mondadori University 2020.

1.2. Human history between progress and decadence
Reference texts:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts (1750).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality among men (1755)

in one of the following editions:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Scritti politici," edited by Maria Garin, vol. 1, Rome-Bari, Laterza, 2020;
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts - Discourse on the Origin of Inequality among Men," edited by Luigi Luporini, translation by Rodolfo Mondolfo, Milan, BUR, 2007.

2.1. The question of inequality: conceptual problems
Reference text:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men".
in one of the editions already mentioned;

2.2. The problem of evil: between history and politics
Reference text:
Letter from J.-J. Rousseau to Voltaire (August 18, 1956)

In one of the following editions:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Opere" edited by Paolo Rossi, Florence, sansoni, 1972, pp. 123-135;

Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, «Sulla catastrofe. L'Illuminismo e la filosofia del disastro», Introduction and edited by Andrea Tagliapietra, with an essay by Paola Giacomoni, Milan, Bruno Mondadori, 2004

3.1. A political community for equals: the basic proposal of "The Social Contract".
Reference text:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)

in one of the following editions:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Scritti politici", edited by Maria Garin, vol. 2, Rome - Bari, Laterza, 1994
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, «Il contratto sociale», with the original French text, edited by Maria Garin, introduction by Tito Magri, Rome - Bari, Laterza, 2019;
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, «Il contratto sociale», edited by Roberto Gatti, Milan, BUR, 2005;
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, «Il contratto sociale», edited by Barbara Carnevali, Milan, Mondadori, 2002
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, «Il contratto sociale», translated by Valentino Gerratana, with an essay by Robert Derathé. Turin, Einaudi, 2005

3.2. Politics and history after "The Social Contract":
the "Draft Constitution for Corsica" and the "Considerations on
the government of Poland".

Reference texts:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Project of constitution for Corsica
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Considerations on the government of Poland

In the following edition:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Scritti politici" edited by Maria Garin, vol. 3, Rome - Bari, Laterza, 1994

Attending students, taking the course for a total of 6 CFU, will be required to prepare only the texts indicated in points 1.1., 1.2., 2.1. and 2.2.

General Informations:

a) The study of the prefaces and introductions to the reported editions is an integral part of exam preparation.

b) Non-attending students of the bachelor's degree and students taking the exam of "History of Political Philosophy" for the second time are required to integrate the preparation with the study of a monographic volume among the following:

J. Starobinski, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. La trasparenza e l'ostacolo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999;
B. Carnevali, Romanticism and Recognition. Figures of consciousness in Rousseau, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2004;
G. Silvestrini, Natural law and general will. The republican contractualism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Turin, Claudiana, 2010.
J. Cohen, Rousseau. A Free Community of Equals, Oxford, Oxford UP, 2010
F. Neuhouser, Rousseau's Critique of Inequality: Reconstructing the Second Discourse, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015;

c) The professor is available to agree to partial modifications of the program, upon motivated request of the students, made during the reception hours.
Assessment methods and Criteria
At the end of the course, the students will have to pass an oral exam, divided into two parts, to be passed in the same session. In the first part, dedicated to the institutional preparation, knowledge of the basic lines of the history of political philosophy will be verified. In the second part, dedicated to the specific theme of the monographic course, the discussion will be aimed at ascertaining both the precise knowledge of the texts in the program, and the ability to enucleate the main philosophical-political problems addressed in them and to compare alternative philosophical-political theses. The students should be able to reconstruct the conceptual structure of the texts and the argumentative strategies followed in them. The students must bring with them the texts in program at the time of the oral examination: the discussion can start from reading and commenting on some significant passages of a philosophical work that has been analysed in the lectures of the course.
Evaluation criteria:
- knowledge of the history of political philosophy and political theory (exposition);
- ability to exemplify concepts (understanding);
- autonomy of judgement, capacity of use and apply concepts (development);
- communication skills and the adequacy of language.

Please note:
The examination modalities for students with disabilities and/or DSA must be agreed with the teacher, in accord with the competent Office.
Unita' didattica
SPS/02 - HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica
SPS/02 - HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica
SPS/02 - HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor(s)