73073 - Theoretical Philosophy (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Philosophical Sciences (cod. 8773)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will have become familiar with some of the main concepts of epistemology; you will be able to reflect critically on their mutual relations and on the relations that connect them to other basic concept of philosophy; you will have acquired the ability to read and interpret with some autonomy texts of a conceptual and argumentative nature; you will possess the tools to study in more depth human knowledge and the various forms of experience; you will understand the relationship between the structuring of concepts, the thery of cognitive abstraction and the various modes of human experience in their practical, vital and behavioural aspects; you will be able to adapt the philosophical-conceptual tools in your possession to new problems and issues; and you will be able to conceptualise human knowledge as an open and non-dogmatic process of neverending transformation of our presuppositions. 

Course contents

Title course: 

"The Feeling of Anxiety: the Theme of Existence and Despair in Kierkegaard's Philosophy".

In the course of the lectures, in addition to providing a general overview of Kierkegaard's thought, the nature of anxiety as a human condition, linked to the infinite character of the possible, will be analysed. Starting from a consideration of anxiety as an affective state of existence and as a fundamental situation of man in the world, the main issues inherent in this Kierkegaardian problem will be examined: freedom, nothingness, evil, the dimension of choice and the future, sin, guilt, responsibility, faith and the value of Christianity. In the second part of the course, the structure of the human personality, the relationship of the self and the structure of this relationship will be analysed. In addition, on the basis of an investigation of the so-called 'deadly sickness' [the sickness unto death] as the deepest experience of the negative, an attempt will be made to clarify the peculiar features of the Kierkegaardian dialectic, which is related to every authentic existential problem and is still relevant in psychopathological perspective. Against the background of the theme of human freedom of the self, the relationship between faith and existence will also be considered, with reference to the core of modern atheism.



The course is scheduled in the first semester, 1th and 2th period (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday). The course is scheduled to start  on Monday, September 18th 2023. 1th period: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9-11, classroom D via Zamboni 34. 2th period (from November 8th): Monday 13-15, classroom D via Zamboni 34; Tuesday 13-15, classroom D via Zamboni 34; Wednesday 9-11, classroom A via Zamboni 34.

The course will take place in presence





Mandatory readings for all students:

1) S. Kierkegaard, Il concetto dell'angoscia, SE, Milano, 2018;

2) S. Kierkegaard, La malattia per la morte, Donzelli, Roma, 2013;

3) E. Rocca, Kierkegaard, Carocci, Roma, 2012;

4) E. Lévinas, Kierkegaard, Castelvecchi, Roma, 2013;

5) P. Ricoeur, Kierkegaard. La filosofia e l'eccezione, Morcelliana, Brescia, 2022.

6) S. Micali, Fenomenologia dell'angoscia, Quodlibet, Macerata, 2023.


For non-attending students, a book chosen from the following is recommended:

1) Peter P. Rohde, Soren Kierkegaard. Un genio in una città provinciale, Castelvecchi, Roma, 2018.

2) U. Regina, Kierkegaard, La Scuola, Brescia, 2014.

3) H. Hoffding, Kierkegaard umanista, Castelevecchi, Roma, 2015.

The texts in the syllabus are available at the FILCOM library and at other libraries of the Polo Bibliotecario Bolognese.

Teaching materials can be downloaded from "teaching material".

English-speaking or other visiting students are free to the English (French or German) editions of these readings, if available at all. 


Teaching methods


Frontal lectures, textual commentary, class discussions on specific issues, dialogical lessons.

The course is scheduled in the first semester, 1th and 2th period (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday). The course will start on Monday, September 18th. 2022. 1th period: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9-11, lecture room D via Zamboni 34. 2th period (from November 8th): Monday 13-15, lecture room D via Zamboni 34; Tuesday 13-15, lecture room D via Zamboni 34; Wednesday 9-11, lecture room A via Zamboni 34.

Lectures face-to-face are scheduled to start September 18th, 2022.

Please note that, in line with established Italian academic custom, each class will begin 15 minutes after the indicated time (this is to favour students we may come from classes held in different buildings). 

I will be grateful to Erasmus and other Exchange students who intend to attend the course if they get in touch with me before the beginning.

 Lectures will be recorded and deposited on the TEAMS platform.


Assessment methods


Students will be evaluated on the basis of a viva voce. The oral exam aim to assessing the student's ability to present, criticize and discuss the topics proposed in the course.

Students with disabilities and Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)Students with disabilities or Specific Learning Disorders have the right to special accommodations according to their condition, following an assessment by the Service for Students with Disabilities and SLD. Please do not contact the teacher but get in touch with the Service directly to schedule an appointment. It will be the responsibility of the Service to determine the appropriate adaptations. For more information, visit the page:


Grade assessment criteria

Grade range below 18 – Fail. Poor knowledge of core material, a significant inability to engage with the discipline. Very poor presentation.

Grade range 18-21 – Pass. Limited and superficial knowledge of the subject, a significant inability to follow the thread of the discussion. Presentation with many inadequacies.

Grade range 21-23 – Adequate. The knowledge is superficial, but the thread of the discussion has been consistently grasped. Presentation with some inadequacies.

Grade range 24-26 – Acceptable. Elementary knowledge of the key principles and concepts. The presentation is occasionally weak.

Grade range 27-29 – Good. Comprehensive knowledge. Good presentation.

30 – Very Good. Detailed knowledge with hints of critical thinking. Very good presentation.

30 cum laude – Outstanding. Excellent knowledge and depth of understanding. Excellent presentation.

Teaching tools

Blackboard, PC, Slides projector

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Besoli