The course of History of ancient philosophy is part of the program in Philosophy (BA level) and is included among the characterising training activities.
The objective of the course is to provide knowledge of the basic issues of modern philosophy (philosophical debates, historical and intellectual background, analysis of lexicon and arguments). Students will read through a classic of modern philosophy and (during classes) will be introduced to related excerpts of other texts in order to understand the basic issues and its legacy.
Students will be able to apply the acquired knowledge to discuss and to develop arguments both in a theoretical and in a historical perspective.
Upon completion of the course students are expected to acquire the following skills:
- Critical thinking on modern philosophy and on its relation to wider issues (both historical and philosophical);
- Language and argumentation skills required for reading modern philosophy and discussing about it;
- Basic capacity to read and analyse modern philosophical sources (in translation).


teacher profile | teaching materials


Descartes, "Meditations on first philosophy"
The class will focus on the following points:
- Descartes' philosophical program in the context of scientific revolution and the critique of Scholastic philosophy
- Epistemological and metaphysical elements of Cartesian thought, from the early writings to the Meditations
- The argumentative structure of the Meditations.
- Questions from the "Objections and replies" (Hobbes, Gassendi, Arnauld) and the philosophical legacy of the Meditations.

Core Documentation

R. Chiaradonna, P. Pecere, Filosofia – La ricerca della conoscenza, Mondadori Education, Milano, 2018, vol. 2A (including the collection of commented texts by Descartes).
R. Descartes, Meditazioni metafisiche, Introduzione e traduzione di Sergio Landucci. Testo latino a fronte, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2016.

Reference Bibliography

E. Scribano, Guida alla lettura delle Meditazioni metafisiche di Descartes. Laterza, Roma-Bari 2010. P. Pecere, Soul, mind and brain from Descartes to cognitive science, Springer, Cham 2020, introduction, chapters 1 and 2.

Type of delivery of the course

Traditional classes with student-centered discussions and debates (emergency health issues may require distance learning)


Attendance is not mandatory

Type of evaluation

The evaluation is based on a written test with open- and close-ended questions. The questions will test the first-hand knowledge of the texts, the lexicon, the argumentative structure and the historico-philosophical context from the 16th to the 17th century. Evaluation: more importance will be given to open-ended questions, their formal correctness and the mastery of the required knowledge.