22690 - Teaching of Philosophy (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide general and at the same time in-depth knowledge of the main teaching methods used in the philosophical field. The analysis of themes and specific contributions relevant to the history of modern and contemporary philosophical thought is aimed at fostering the development of semiotic skills as well as the expansion of the student's expressive and cognitive potential. Furthermore, the lessons will investigate topics such as the role of the teacher of the discipline, the didactic programming activity and the possibilities of using technology for the teaching of philosophy.

Course contents

Discourse System Aphorism
Styles of Philosophy. Descartes Spinoza Pascal


The course is divided into two parts:
I. Monographic course
II. Institutional course

The philosophical style does not represent a simple cover of concepts, but is the very substance of thought. Starting from this premise the monographic course investigates three forms of exposition of philosophy in the modern age: discourse, geometric method, aphorism. We will explore Descartes' Discourse of the method, which is presented as a path of discovery of the truth, written in first person and put to the test by the Essays that the philosopher addresses to the artisans against metaphysics and logic taught in the Schools; the Ethics of Spinoza, which deduces from the adequate idea of God (causa sui) the order of nature and a way of salvation for the mind; Pascal's Thoughts, an asystematic and aphoristic work which responds to the great problems of the seventeenth century - the method of scientific research and the study of man's mind - by relaunching a form of philosophizing exposed to the edges of the unknowable, between nothingness and the infinite in which human nature measures its own misery and greatness.


The course aims to reconstruct different approaches to the history of modern philosophy in the light of didactic models and methods of philosophical teaching. Students are asked to prepare a short philosophy lesson, discussed in class, on the themes of the course, which will contribute to the final evaluation.

On 27 April Prof. Francesco Piro (University of Salerno) will give a seminar entitled "Inventio. La Filosofia nell'Istruzione tecnica e professionale" (Inventio. Philosophy in technical and professional education), within the cycle of seminars organised by the Research Group ΑΙΩΝ / AIÓN - Filosofia e Didattica (University of Bologna). In collaboration with the Ass. Filò. Il filo del pensiero and the Ass. Amica Sofia.

Time and place of the meeting: 10.00 to 13.00 on the Zoom Platform at the following link:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88137869479?pwd=bXlEcHRYT2FpampXRFVKQ0FaeFkrdz09

Meeting ID: 881 3786 9479 Passcode: 226449



1. Descartes, Discorso del metodo


Discorso del metodo, I, II, IV, VI, Milano, BUR 2010 (2018), pp. 10-55; 76-97; 144-183. 

2. Spinoza, Etica


Etica, V, trad. it. E. Giancotti, Roma, Editori Riuniti, 2002, pp. 291-318.

3. Pascal, Pensieri


Pensieri, IV. Il problema dell'uomo; V. Miseria e grandezza dell'uomo; VI. Insufficienza della filosofia, Milano, Mondadori, 1971, pp. 135-247.

The selected parts of the texts to be prepared for the monographic course are collected in the handouts that can be found in the teaching materials section.


Critical Studies (2 texts to choose from):

T. Gregory, Genèse de la raison classique, Paris, PUF, 2000

P. Dessì, Causa/effetto, Bologna, il Mulino, 2012

M. Spallanzani, Descartes : la règle de la raison, Paris, Vrin, 2015

J. Cottingham, Cartesio, Bologna, il Mulino, 1991

D. Donna, Le catene di ragioni e l’ordine della natura. Teorie della conoscenza in Descartes e Spinoza, Milano, Mimesis, 2015

E. Scribano, Guida alla lettura dell'Etica di Spinoza, Bari, Laterza, 2008

F. Mignini, «Ars imaginandi». Apparenza e rappresentazione in Spi­noza, Napoli, ESI, 1981

A. Sangiacomo, Homo Liber. Verso una morale spinoziana, Milano, Mimesis, 2011

A. Bausola, Introduzione a Pascal, Bari, Laterza, 1996

A. Peratoner, Pascal, Roma, Carocci, 2011

F. P. Adorno, La ragione ordinata. Saggio su Pascal, Napoli, La Città del Sole, 2000

D. Antiseri, Come leggere Pascal, Milano, Bompiani, 2005.



The course aims to reconstruct different approaches to the history of modern philosophy. Knowledge of: 

a) one of the following History of Philosophy manuals for high schools is required:

- Storia della filosofia con testi e letture critiche curata da F. Adorno, T. Gregory, V. Verra, Bari, Laterza 1979, rist., vol. II

- Storia della filosofia, a cura di F. Restaino, Torino, Utet 1999, vol. 3/1 e 3/2

- Storia della filosofia moderna, curata da M. Mori, Bari, Laterza, 2005, Storia della filosofia moderna, curata da G. Belgioioso, Le Monnier Università, 2018;

b) one of the following History of Philosophical Education textbooks:

G. Piaia, Il lavoro storico-filosofico. Questioni di metodo ed esiti didattici, Padova, Cluep, 2001;

L. Illetterati, a cura di, Insegnare filosofia. Modelli di pensiero e pratiche didattiche, Torino, Utet, 2007;

G. Semerari, a cura di, Pensiero e narrazioni, Bari, Dedalo, 1995;

M. De Pasquale, a cura di, Filosofia per tutti. La filosofia per la scuola e la società del 2000, Milano, Franco Angeli, 1998.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures and reading of texts in the classroom, together with discussion of the most important topics and direct participation of the students.

Assessment methods

The attendance of the entire course corresponds to 6 credits. The programme is unique for both attending and non-attending students.

The student will present the following programme:

1) Monographic course

2) Institutional course

The oral examination takes place in the teacher's studio and tends to verify:

the historical-philosophical knowledge acquired through attendance at the lessons, the study of the basic texts and the relative bibliography
the degree of understanding and critical reworking of the proposed content
expressive skills and the ability to orient oneself among the main lines of interpretation.

The registration for the exam is online on the ALMAESAMI website

Verification criteria

30 cum laude: excellent proof, for solidity of knowledge and critical processing skills

30: excellent proof, adequate knowledge and expressive richness

27-29: good proof, satisfactory knowledge, correct expression

24-26: discrete proof, non-exhaustive and partially correct knowledge

21-23: sufficient proof, general knowledge, confused expression

18-21: barely sufficient proof. Poor articulation and relevant theoretical gaps

<18: insufficient proof, missing or incomplete knowledge, lack of guidance in the argument.

Teaching tools

A collection of texts aimed at articulating the theme of the forms of elaboration and transmission of philosophy in the modern age will be made available.

Office hours

See the website of Diego Donna