00399 - Theoretical Philosophy

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Luca Guidetti
  • Credits: 12
  • SSD: M-FIL/01
  • Language: Italian

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be familiar with some of the key moments in philosophical thought and have a synoptic view of them. They will be able both to place philosophers in historical context, and to decontextualize them to see how relevant their thinking is to contemporary philosophy. They will know the problem-concepts of meaning, reference and truth, and be able to critique a theoretical proposition set up by the teacher.

Course contents


The course will examine two fundamental texts of Hans Jonas: The Phenomenon of Life (1966-1973) and The Principle Responsibility (1979). The philosophy of Hans Jonas (1903-1993), by a comparison with the conceptions of life from antiquity to today, goes in search of a new relationship between man and nature through a reconsideration of organic life aimed at overcoming the split between soul and body, spirit and matter, internal world and external world. On this new philosophical biology Jonas grafts the ethical themes that must characterize human behavior in the current technological civilization. It is an ethic characterized by responsibility towards future generations, a responsibility that is obtained with respect for nature and the recognition of the dignity of living beings and other men, for a freer world, more equitable, in solidarity, in which all beings - humans and animals - can find their place.

Distribution of topics in the lectures:

of the 30 lectures available (all will be recorded),

5 will be dedicated to a historical-philosophical excursus on the biological-philosophical theories in Western culture, to the relationship between soul and body, mechanism and vitalism;
15 will be dedicated to reading, commenting and discussing the text of Jonas, Organism and freedom;
10 will be dedicated to reading, commenting and discussing Jonas's text, The Principle Responsibility.

Start of lectures and place:

The lectures will begin on Monday, September 20, 2021, in classroom D, via Centotrecento 18, and will be held every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 7 pm.



  • Hans Jonas, Organismo e libertà. Verso una biologia filosofica, Einaudi, Turin 1999 (or other editions), pp. 15-262. The text will be available in the teaching material.
  • Hans Jonas, Il principio responsabilità. Un'etica per la civiltà tecnologica, Einaudi, Turin 2002 (or other editions). The text will be available in the teaching material.
  • Slides and notes edited by the teacher, progressively available in the "teaching material".
  • NOTE: the recorded lectures will be available and downloadable at a link that will be indicated later.



Since the lectures will be recorded and made available to everyone, the readings here indicated as "obligatory" for non-attending students is such only for those who cannot or do not want to access and use online lectures and/or lectures in presence.


Optional additional readings for attending students:

  • G. Fornero, Jonas: La responsabilità verso le generazioni future, in N. Abbagnano, Storia della filosofia, IV: La filosofia contemporanea, UTET, Torino 1994, Tomo secondo, pp. 496-513 (available in the teaching material);
  • C. Bonaldi, Jonas, Carocci, Roma 2009.


Additional readings (optional and obligatory) for non-attending students:

  • G. Fornero, Jonas: La responsabilità verso le generazioni future, in N. Abbagnano, Storia della filosofia, IV: La filosofia contemporanea, UTET, Torino 1994, Tomo secondo, pp. 496-513 (obligatory: available in the teaching material).
  • C. Bonaldi, Jonas, Carocci, Roma 2009 (obligatory).
  • R. Franzini Tibaldeo, La rivoluzione ontologica di Hans Jonas. Uno studio sulla genesi e il significato di "Organismo e libertà", Mimesis, Milano-Udine, 2009 (optional).


Further bibliographical indications will be provided in class. In any case, the obligatory text and the teaching material made available (to which special attention must be paid), are sufficient to pass the exam with maximum profit.


Teaching methods

Lectures, reading and commentary on texts and on primary sources, discussion on specific issues.

Assessment methods

Oral test with verification of specific historical and philosophical knowledge and of the level of assimilation and processing critical-conceptual content (See "Evaluation board". Each entry has a maximum of 10 points, for a total of 30 + possible laude).

Assessment criteria and thresholds of evaluation:

30 cum laude: Excellent as to knowledge, terminology and critical expression.

30: Excellent, knowledge is complete, well articulated and correctly expressed, although with some slight faults.

27-29: Good, knowledge comprehensive and satisfactory, essentially correct expression .

24-26: Fairly good, knowledge present in significant points, but not complete and not always expressed with correctness.

21-23: Sufficient, knowledge is sometimes superficial, but the guiding general thread is included. Expression and articulation incomplete and often not appropriate

18-21:.Almost sufficient, but knowledge present only on the surface. The guiding principle is not included with continuity. The expression and articulation of the speech show important gaps.

<18: Not sufficient, knowledge absent or very incomplete, lack of guidance in discipline, expression seriously deficient. Exam failed.


Teaching tools

Overhead Projector with PC.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Luca Guidetti


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.