Philosophy and Education in Classical Antiquity

Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Rosa Loredana CARDULLO

Expected Learning Outcomes

The Philosophy and the Formation of Man in Antiquity course aims to give students who have already dealt with historical-philosophical disciplines in the three-year course a more in-depth and monographic knowledge of the thought of an ancient philosopher. This year the choice falls on Socrates, first philosopher for some contemporary historiographers (Hadot, Cambiano), first moral philosopher for the vast majority of critics, who refer for such judgment to Aristotle (Metaphysics A).

While relying on the historical sources, interpreted in the light of the most recent and accredited critical literature, the course is not intended to be a classical presentation of the chosen ancient thought and philosopher, as if it were a merely archaeological survey, but deals with ancient themes "with contemporary eyes," privileging those topics and personalities that show that they are still indispensable for the formation and orientation of man today. 

Socrates and self-care represent a topical object of study and research. The Socratic teaching on the soul, virtues, happiness, and freedom, themes on which the 2023/2024 course will focus, has never ceased to fascinate men of all ages

Required Prerequisites

No special prerequisites are needed other than knowledge of key terms and major issues in the history of ancient philosophy. Three-year courses provide students with this foundation.

Detailed Course Content

Course title: Care and self-knowledge in the thought of Socrates. The nature and self-formation of man.

The 2023/2024 course in Philosophy and the Formation of Man in Antiquity will focus on Socratic thought devoted to care and self-knowledge. One of the classical texts that deals primarily with the topic is the First Alcibiades, one of Plato's early, or Socratic, dialogues. Another key-text for an in-depth study of this topic is the Apology of Socrates, which has been the subject of aprofessional study in a course in previous years, but will be kept in mind in the course of lectures. The classroom reading of the First Alcibiades, accompanied by extensive commentary and critical reflection, will be accompanied by the presentation of Maria Michela Sassi's study, Investigation of Socrates. Person, Philosopher and Citizen, Einaudi, Turin 2015. This book will enable students to learn in depth about Socrates' thought and work.

As a capstone to the course, a seminar on an English-language paper devoted to the reception of Socratic thought of self-care in Foucault will be given by PhD students.

Learning Assessment

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Examples of questions could be these (which, however, cannot exhaust the pool of questions posed during the exam. In fact, the exam will reflect exactly the topics covered in class):

Why did Socrates leave no writings?

What doctrines should be authentically attributed to the historical Socrates and not to the Platonic Socrates?

What are the sources of the Socratic figure and thought?

Discuss the Sontophon source

Discuss the Aristophanean source

Talk about the Platonic source

Talk about the Aristotelian source

The minor Socratics

Why does Socrates represent a physiognomic exception?

The death trial and condemnation of Socrates

The Socratic method

What is the soul for Socrates?

The Socratic concept of happiness

Know thyself: from the Delphic Apollo to Socrates

Self-care in the First Alcibades and the Apology of Socrates

Reading and commentary on the first Alcibiades

Socrates in Foucault (article in English)