Political Theory

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course of Political Theory aims to inquire theoretically political problems both in the classical and in the contemporary traditions. The basic objective consists of encouraging the learning of evaluative language to orient in the interpretation of political events, given that philosophers cannot be restricted to their description. So the basic question is: what criteria are desirable to judge and to act politically? Learning to compare different answers students are engaged to measure their performances and to test their strengths and weaknesses.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge, comprehension and evaluation of political facts; ability to distinguish different normative options according to their principles and aims. At the end of the course students will be able to judge political facts and to orient theoretically in their patterns.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
Hopefully lectures will be given face-to-face. Please take always an eye to the Ariel site of the course.
Course syllabus
First Module (20 hours)
Beginning from the Thucydidean dialogue between Melians and Athenians alternative standard for political judgement will be examined: from the tension between justice and force to the machiavellian arguments about politics and morality and to the debate between Kant and Constant about principles and circumstances.
Second Module (20 hours)
The second module focuses on the relationship between political theory and political facts, looking at an exemplar event like French Revolution, with particular reference to the Jacobin Terror. From the disagreements between Burke and Kant about the role of principles in Revolution we will move to the Hegelian argument against the Jacobin absolute freedom and to Arendt's critique to the "social" degeneration of Revolution.
THIRD MODULE (20 hours)
The classical argument of Weber about political vocation will be examined updating it with the "dirty hands" paradigm suggested by Walzer and the "integrity" argument suggested by Williams.
Prerequisites for admission
No previous knowledge required
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
Materiale di riferimento]
Primo modulo
Tucidide, Dialogo tra Meli e Ateniesi*, in La guerra del Peloponneso
N.Machiavelli, Il Principe, Milano, BUR.
I.Kant, B. Constant, Verità e menzogna. Dialogo sulla fondazione morale della politica, Milano, Bruno Mondadori. *

*materiale reperibile sul sito ARIEL del corso

Secondo modulo
I.Kant, Sul detto comune: "Questo può essere giusto in teoria, ma non vale per la pratica" (Parte I)*
E. Burke, Riflessioni sulla rivoluzione in Francia, Roma, Ideazione (passaggi scelti)*
I.Kant, B. Constant, Verità e menzogna. Dialogo sulla fondazione morale della politica, Milano, Bruno Mondadori. *
I.Kant, Il conflitto delle Facoltà, Brescia, Morcelliana (seconda parte)*
G.W.F. Hegel, Fenomenologia dello spirito, Firenze, La Nuova Italia (passaggi scelti)*
H.Arendt, Sulla rivoluzione, Torino, Einaudi (passaggi scelti)*
Materiale consigliato:
R.Bodei, Il terrore e la virtù in Geometria delle passioni, Milano, Feltrinelli, pp. 369-443*
Terror! Robespierre and the French Revolution, Part 1 e Part 2 (mp4 nella cineteca del corso)

* materiale reperibile sul sito ARIEL del corso

Terzo modulo
M.Weber, La politica come professione in La scienza come professione, la Politica come professione, Torino, Einaudi
M.Walzer, Azione politica: il problema delle mani sporche* in Il filo della politica, Reggio Emilia, Diabasis.
B.Williams, George e Jim, in Utilitarismo: un confronto*
Un film a scelta nella cineteca del corso

* materiale reperibile sul sito ARIEL del corso
Assessment methods and Criteria
A written test requiring to answer specific questions treated in the first two modules; a paper -5000 words length- on a subject proposed by the teacher aimed to verify the mastery of theoretical tools offered by the course together with the ability to propose arguments and autonomous judgments; an oral test on the topics of the third module (and on their connections with the topics of the first and second module).
Every test will be weighted for a third.
SPS/01 - POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Besussi Antonella
Educational website(s)
Office 209 - II floor - Via Passione 13