28013 - History of Philosophy (LM)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide general and at the same time in-depth knowledge of the history of modern and contemporary philosophical thought. The lessons will focus on specific themes, contextualising their analysis in the context of long-term traditions. The aim of the course is to put the student in a position to face the reading of classical texts independently and to orient himself among the main interpretative and historiographical lines.

Course contents

Philosophy as history, history as philosophy

 Variations on progress and secularization

 By reading classics of modern and contemporary philosophy and economic theory (such as Bossuet, Hume, Smith, Hegel, Carl Menger and Hayek), the course will address some crucial issues of reflection on the logic of the historical process. The idea that human history is governed by a logic that transcends the conscious will of individuals and communities seems to constitute a tenacious trait-d’union between the secular (immanentistic) perspective and the traditional vision, centered on the providentialist scheme. The study of the texts will focus on the elements of continuity and fracture, focusing on the establishment of the spontaneous order paradigm.


Class schedule

Monday, Wednesday, 3-5 pm, classroom I, via Zamboni, 38 (and, on line, via Teams)

Tuesday, 3-5 pm, classroom IV, via Zamboni, 38 (and, on line, via Teams)


Starting date of the lectures

September 20, 2021


1. Basic texts (two of your choice)

David Hume, Dialoghi sulla religione naturale, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1994

Adam Ferguson, Saggio sulla storia della società civile, Vallecchi, Firenze 1973

Adam Smith, Lezioni sulla “Jurisprudence” 1763-64, in Id., Lezioni di Glasgow, a cura di Enzo Pesciarelli, Giuffrè, Milano 1989, pp. 507-733

Immanuel Kant, Scritti di storia, politica e diritto, a cura di Filippo Gonnelli, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1999

G.W. Friedrich Hegel, Lezioni sulla filosofia della storia, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2003

Carl Menger, Sul metodo delle scienze sociali, a cura di Raimondo Cubeddu, liberilibri, Macerata 1996

Friedrich A. von Hayek, Legge, legislazione e libertà, il Saggiatore, Milano 1986


2. Texts commented in class (at the end of the course made available online in Teaching materials)


3. Secondary literature (two of your choice)

Karl Löwith, Significato e fine della storia. I presupposti teologici della filosofia della storia (1949), il Saggiatore, Milano 1989

Ronald L. Meek, Il cattivo selvaggio (1976), il Saggiatore, Milano 1981

Albert Otto Hirschman, Le passioni e gli interessi. Argomenti politici in favore del capitalismo prima del suo trionfo (1977), Feltrinelli, Milano 1979

Reinhart Koselleck, Futuro passato. Per una semantica dei tempi storici (1979), Marietti, Genova 1980

Otto Mayr, La bilancia e l’orologio. Libertà e autorità nel pensiero politico dell’Europa moderna (1970), il Mulino, Bologna 1988

Alberto Burgio, Strutture e catastrofi. Kant, Hegel, Marx, Editori Riuniti, Roma 2000

Massimo Mori, Libertà, necessità, determinismo, il Mulino, Bologna 2001

Stefano Fiori, Ordine, mano invisibile, mercato. Una rilettura di Adam Smith, Utet, Torino 2001

Alberto Burgio, Il sogno di una cosa. Per Marx, DeriveApprodi, Roma 2018


4. Institutional part

For the purposes of the examination, the knowledge of the fundamental authors of the history of philosophy between the  sixteenth and nineteenth centuries will be required (see the list below).

List of authors to prepare for the exam:

Bruno, Machiavelli, Bacone, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Montesquieu, Vico, Hume, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Croce, Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Lukács, la Scuola di Francoforte, Foucault, Arendt.

Those who have already taken the exam of History of Modern Philosophy with prof. Burgio or prof. Donna, and History of Philosophy B with Prof. F. Cerrato do not have to take the exam on this part of the program.

The program is the same for attending and non-attending students. 
Thus, for everyone, the exam interview will also focus on the subject covered in class.


Teaching methods

Frontal lectures with discussion in class of the crucial issues.

Assessment methods

The final oral exam focuses on the program’s material.

It usually takes place at the Professor’s office (via Zamboni, 38 - 5.08); due to the health emergency, exams may take place remotely on the Teams platform.

The evaluation considers the degree of learning of the fundamental notions, the level of the argumentative competence, expressive property and the critical skills of candidates.

On the basis of these parameters an overall evaluation in thirtieths is expressed, according to the following judgment criteria:

18-21 Sufficient

22-25 Average

26-28 Good-Very Good

29-30 Excellent.

Office hours

See the website of Alberto Burgio