Academic Year 2016/2017 - 1° Year - Curriculum Agenzie formative, servizi educativi, insegnamento
Teaching Staff: Rosa Loredana CARDULLO
Credit Value: 6
Taught classes: 36 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

The course examines the history of ancient philosophy, from its origins (VI BC) until the closing of the pagan Athenians schools of philosophy, due to the edicts of Justinian in 529 A.D.

Studying the origins of philosophical thinking is a fundamental first step for anyone is dealing with the study of modern and contemporary philosophy, and also for anyone who draws near to so-called human sciences, whose matrix is ​​constituted precisely by the ancient philosophy and, at the specifically, from Greek philosophy, from which are born many disciplines such as medicine, mathematics, pedagogy, psychology, sociology. Studying through the sources philosophical thought of the ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to the Neoplatonists, gives way, in fact, to better understand how they were born and how their common philosophical matrix are then developed on medical issues (see Hippocrates), mathematician (see Euclid and the mathematicians of late antiquity, including Theon of Alexandria and his daughter Hypatia), psychological (see Socrates, who discovered the concept of the soul, and the development of psychic reflection from Plato to Plotinus), pedagogical (see the important lessons of the Sophists, the first "professors" of history, and educational thought of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle), physical-biological-cosmological (from pre-Socratic doctrines on the material principle of reality and its dynamic-mechanical laws, to the Aristotelian teachings).

Studying ancient philosophical thinking also gives way to deal with religious issues and to learn about and analyze critically the history of the main theological traditions of the ancient world, paganism and Christianity, through its most educated representatives and their most important doctrines. Also discussed will be some moral themes and poetic-literary aspects of their ancient greek world, which still exert a great influence on the contemporary world today and are the focus of a lively critical debate.

Detailed Course Content

The course of History of Ancient Philosophy will be an opportunity to deepen the ancient philosophical thought, from its origins (sixth century BC) until the last pagan schools, which are the neo-Platonic ones (VI cent. A.D.).

The essay by Pierre Hadot What is ancient philosophy?, not being a traditional history of philosophy manual, allow the student a less academic and more critical approach to history, to the thinkers and the problems that characterize the earliest phase of philosophizing. Following the thread conductor of interpretation of philosophy as "lifestyle" of his own theorizing, Hadot presents authors and themes in the light of a hermeneutical paradigm that leaves out the history of the so-called pre-Socratic philosophy, and considered as the first true philosopher Socrates. The moral and methodological teaching of this philosopher occupies much of the text, even if they are not neglected the main Platonic and Aristotelian theories (ontological, logical, ethical, political, educational, psychological). Greater attention by the author receive the Hellenistic schools, whose fundamental objective was not to "inform" but to "train" the souls of individuals, but also the neo-Platonism of Plotinus, in which it is possible fully realize the aspiration of the complete happiness, practice a way of philosophical life and a religious asceticism. Therefore, the course will explore in a particular way the thought of these ancient philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno of Citium, Epicurus, Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus.

The "classic" text that will be read and commented in the classroom is the Plotinian treatise on happiness. It is a theme particularly dear to the ancients, that all philosophers have addressed but that finds in Plotinus an original and fascinating discussion.

Textbook Information

1. Pierre Hadot, Che cos'è la filosofia antica?, Einaudi, Torino 2010, VII-302 p.

2. Plotino, Sulla felicità, traduzione e cura di Mauro Bonazzi. Testo a fronte, Torino, Einaudi 2016