39423 - History of Modern Philosophy (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The lectures allow the student to interpret the significant nodes of European thought in the fifteenth and eighteenth Centuries and to identify intersections with other areas of Western culture. Skills about the main interpretation and historiographical lines in order to modern philosophy and the concept of modernity, allow to recognize topics and themes' projections of modern thought in the contemporary philosophical debate, and to proceed retrospectively to the origin of subjects and long-running problems.

Course contents

From Medusa's gaze to the living mirror of Leibniz

The aim of the course is to analyze the passage from a knowledge as a mimetic contemplation of the sensitive datum (which assumes a criterion of verification based on the observability and measurability of natural phenomena), to a knowledge assumed as symbolic formation, in which sensitivity and conceptuality are integrated, the subjective freedom and the necessity of the object to be known are mutually dissolved.
Leibniz's philosophical and scientific thought – by its concepts of monad, vis viva, points at infinity and infinity saturated of centers - marks a decisive turning point, at least for awareness, in a line of thought begun two centuries earlier, which had assumed within philosophy and sciences, the acquisitions and methods of the figurative arts.
The contrast between representation and expression, assumed by Leibniz as indicative of the contrast between a knowledge as mimesis or resemblance of sensitive data on the one hand, composition of relations between structures in relation to each other, from the other, enshrines the debt with the theory of Renaissance and its questions left suspended.
Monad, point of view, living mirror and living compass, shadow, phantasmata, infinity, icon vs idea, vanishing point and point to infinity, linear perspective and perspective renversée: on these terms the course will insist in order to reconnect Leibniz thought not only to philosophers like Cusano or Giordano Bruno, but also to artists such as Van Eyck, Masaccio, Leonardo, Dürer, Desargues.



All students are expected to know
G. W. Leibniz, Monadologia, Torino, Bompiani, 2001G.W. Leibniz, Linguaggio, mente, conoscenza, a cura di S. Genuini, Roma, cartocci, 2005 or G.W. Leibniz, Saggi filosofici e lettere, a cura di V. Mathieu, Bari, Laterza, 1963 (to be agreed with the teacher)
E. Cassirer, Individuo e cosmo nella filosofia del Rinascimento, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1935 (chapters 1 and 2)G. Deleuze, La piega. Leibniz e il Barocco, Torino, Einaudi 2004                             c) furthermore:
wo of the following essays (students who have not attended classes should choose and read three essays):
Cusano e Leibniz. Prospettive filosofiche, a cura di A. Dall'Igna e D. Roberi, Milano Mimesis, 2013
- G. Cuozzo, Raffigurare l'invisibile. Cusano e l'arte del tempo, Milano, Mimesis, 2012
Monadi e monadologie. Il mondo degli individui tra Bruno, Leibniz e Husserl, Catanzaro, Rubettino, 2005
- R. Casati, La scoperta dell'ombra, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2008
- A. Angelini, Matematica e immaginazione nel Rinascimento, Milano, Editrice Bibliografica, 2016


Teaching methods

15 lectures.
During the course central paragraphs of the Leibniz's texts listed in the bibliography will be read and commented and compared with Renaissance (philosophical and iconographic) sources. Students are required to provide the text before the course begins.
Summaries and schemes of the classes will be periodically uploaded on AlmaDigital Library.
Students who attend classes are required to enroll, before the course begins, to the distribution list, ID: annarita.angelini.Leibniz, password: Leibniz
We recommend the students to see regulary the teacher's web page on which will be uploaded any information and change useful to those who attending the classes.
Students who have attended classes can replace the above texts with specific topics. These topics have to be agreed with the teacher at the end of the course.

Assessment methods

Oral examination: Students are recommended to bring the texts when examining.The interview focuses mainly on analysis and critical interpretation of the sources.
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

The texts of Cusanus is an essential tool in order to actively participate in the classes. It is recommended to get hold of the text before classes.
The summaries of the lectures will be periodically (every three to six lectures) uploaded on AlmaDigital Library. To be allowed to the online consultation of classes slides, students have to enroll to the distribution list ID: annarita.angelini.Leibniz, password: Leibniz

Office hours

See the website of Annarita Angelini