73082 - History of Medieval 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 will lead to a thorough knowledge of the philosophical medieval reflections with special focus on the epistemological aspects and the interweaving of the sources into the vernacular, Latin, greek, Arab and Jewish. We want to draw the lines of an intellectual history, marked by  the real historical dimension; a dimension which also opens to concepts, issues and ideas.  In this way, students will learn to extricate themselves critically between notions, categories and classifications historiography, which, if he was recruited strictly, would lead to errors, ideological prejudices and to a historical determinism as to block any freedom of interpretation. The lessons will give particular relevance to the texts, the study of semantic variations of the theological and philosophical the lexicon and the rigorous scrutiny of the historiographic interpretations and history of concepts and ideas.


Course contents

The rediscovery of Plotinus between Bessarion's In calumniatorem Platonis and Ficino's translation.

The course will follow the resurfacing of Plotinus' ideas in Bessarion's work (circa 1455), persuaded as we are that Florentine platonism actually was a neo-plotinism. Already from the texts quoted by cardinal Bessarion, Plotinus appeared to many Western readers as the true source of Saint Augustine's gnoseological ideas. Reading a number of fifteenth-century Florentine doctrinal poems that narrate the adventures of the soul, we will highlight the peculiarity of Ficino's ideas on the mechanics of sensation and on the conceptions that make of hell and paradise merely psicological states. In this sense, we will briefly focus on the rediscovery of the ideas of Origen, both in late Bizantine philosophy and in Ficino and Pico's works.  


Robert Klein, La forma e l'intelligibile. Scritti sul Rinascimento e l'arte moderna, Torino, Einaudi, 1975.

Eugenio Garin, Lo zodiaco della vita, Bari-Roma, Laterza, 1976 or following editions.

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