73080 - History of Philosophy (2) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

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

Learning outcomes

The course's goal is that of making the students able to deal in autonomy with the reading of classics from the history of modern and contemporary philosophy and of allowing them to gain an idea of the main interpretative and historiographical trends, traditional and more recent ones. The lessons deal with specific themes, analyzing diverse theoretical and argumentative articulations in reference with historical context, cultural diversity and philosophical issues, as well as with the determination of each philosopher's intellectual options. The prevailing seminary format of the lessons are meant to involve students in an autonomous and shared research, conducted with advanced bibliographical tools and discussed in the dialogical forms of scientific communication. 

Course contents

The rediscovery of Sextus Empiricus from Angevin Naples to Giovanni Francesco Pico's Examen vanitatis doctrinae gentium.

The course will follow the rediscovery of the skeptical thought of Sextus Empiricus, initially among the phisicians of Angevin Naples (Nicola il Greco, who was the first translator of the Hypotyposeis at the beginning of the fourteenth century) and then among the Savonarolian groups of late-fifteenth-century Florence. We will primarily analyze the twenty books of Pico's Examen vanitatis, focusing especially on them, given that the main books dealing with the rebirth of skepticism ignore them almost entirely, even if this was the only text to truly penetrate the deep sense of ancient skepticism. 


Richard Popkin, Storia dello scetticismo, Milano, Mondadori, 2008.

Giovanni Francesco Pico, La strega, a cura di Lucia Pappalardo, Roma, Città Nuova, 2017 (only the introduction).

Teaching methods

lectures. During class the teacher reads, translates and comments on relevant textual passages and thematic nodes.

Assessment methods

Oral examination: Students are recommended to bring the texts when examining.
Students who have attended lectures may agree on exams (whether written or oral) devoted to specific topics.

Assessment criteria and thresholds of evaluation:

30 cum laude - Excellent as to knowledge, philosophical lexicon and critical expression.

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

27-29 – Good: thorough and satisfactory knowledge; essentially correct expression.

24-26 - Fairly good: knowledge broadly acquired, and not always correctely expressed.

21-23 – Sufficient: superficial and partial knowledge; exposure and articulation are incomplete and often not sufficiently appropriate

18-21 - Almost sufficient: superficial and decontextualized knowledge. The exposure of the contents shows important gaps.

Exam failed - Students are requested to show up at a subsequent exam session if basic skills and knowledge are not sufficiently acquired and not placed in the historical-philosophical context.

Teaching tools

texts; during the course the teacher will provide handouts and translations students.

Students who have not attended the course will find educational materials available at the secretariat of the students, via Zamboni 38, second floor.

Office hours

See the website of Franco Bacchelli