10577 - Philosophical Hermeneutics (1)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Philosophy (cod. 9216)

Learning outcomes

a) Disciplinary characterization Philosophical hermeneutics is a theoretical discipline, driven by the intention to reflect on the relationship between subject and world and on the conditions that make it possible. The term “hermeneutics”, which has been present since antiquity with the meaning of art or technique of interpretation of religious, juridical and literary texts, assumes philosophical relevance only through the work of historicism and phenomenology. As a discipline, philosophical hermeneutics was in fact born in the twentieth century, when, in the phenomenological field, hermeneutics is no longer considered as one of the possible forms of knowledge, but is conceived as the subject’s mode of being. Since every understanding presupposes an anticipation of meaning (hermeneutic circle), historicity is constitutive of human being, who, through language, is called to understand and interpret her being in the world. b) Methodology, knowledges and educational objectives The purpose of the teaching of Philosophical Hermeneutics is to acquire knowledge and analytical tools that enable to tackle philosophical texts with historiographical awareness and critical sense, placing them within the contemporary philosophical debate and questioning them starting from the solicitations of the present. To this end, it is necessary to know the basic vocabulary of the discipline, to have critically assimilated its fundamental concepts and to be able to discuss its contents. This objective is pursued through the adoption of different methods, such as historical-philosophical reconstruction, conceptual elaboration and hermeneutics of the text.

Course contents

Course title: Ricoeur and the Hermeneutics of the Self

The course will examine Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, through the reading and discussion of “Oneself as Another”. The topics covered will be the following: explanation and interpretation; the grafting of hermeneutics onto phenomenology; cogito and selfhood; ipse and idem; the hermeneutics of the self; selfhood and otherness; one’s own body, the other, and conscience.

The first five lessons will be dedicated to an introduction to the philosophical hermeneutics, while in the following lessons the context in which the Ricoeurian thought is placed will be outlined and the above mentioned issues will be addressed.

Course timetable: 1st period: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 15-17 (Lecture room D, via Centotrecento)

Course start date: September 18th, 2023


P. Ricoeur, Oneself as Another, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago-London 1992 (selected pages).

P. Ricoeur, Existence and Hermeneutics, in The Conflict of Interpretations. Essays in Hermeneutics, Northwestern University Press, Evanston 1974, pp. 3-24.

P. Ricoeur, What Is a Text? Explanation and Understanding, in From Text to Action. Essays in Hermeneutics II, Northwestern University Press, Evanston 1991, pp. 105-124.

F. Bianco, Introduzione all’ermeneutica, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1998, pp. 3-36, 71-105, 119-131, 145-166, 179-192.

F. Brezzi, Introduzione a Ricoeur, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2006 (optional).

R.A. Cohen, J.L. Marsh (eds.), Ricoeur as Another. The Ethics of Subjectivity, State University of New York Press, Albany 2002 (optional).

Text recommended for non-attending students:

F. Brezzi, Introduzione a Ricoeur, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2006.

Non-attending students are also recommended to contact the teacher for the syllabus and bibliography.

The slides used in the lessons will be available in the online material.

Teaching methods

Lectures; reading and commenting of texts; discussion on the main issues covered in the course.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview, which will assess the knowledge of the texts and the ability to critically discuss the proposed issues.

Grade assessment criteria:

30 cum laude: Excellent, both in knowledge and in the critical and expressive articulation.

30: Very good. Complete, well-articulated and correctly expressed knowledge, with some critical insights.

27-29: Good. Comprehensive and satisfactory knowledge, substantially correct expression.

24-26: Fairly good. Knowledge is present in the main points, but it is not comprehensive and not always correctly articulated.

21-23: Sufficient. Sometimes superficial knowledge, but the common thread is understood. Incomplete and often inappropriate expression and articulation.

18-21: Almost sufficient. Superficial knowledge, the common thread is not understood with continuity. Expression and articulation have significant gaps.

Not sufficient: Absent or very incomplete knowledge, lack of orientation in the discipline, defective and inappropriate expression.

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: https://site.unibo.it/studenti-con-disabilita-e-dsa/en/for-students

Teaching tools

PowerPoint slides

Office hours

See the website of Sebastiano Galanti Grollo


Quality education Partnerships for the goals

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