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CODE 66922
ACADEMIC YEAR 2024/2025
CREDITS
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR M-FIL/01
LANGUAGE Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
  • GENOVA
SEMESTER 2° Semester
PREREQUISITES
Propedeuticità in ingresso
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TEACHING MATERIALS AULAWEB

OVERVIEW

This course aims to introduce to theoretical philosophy, starting from the question of human nature and presenting the most relevant methods of philosophical research. Contemporary  questions are put in relation to other forms of knowledge and in comparison with conceptual models offered by the philosophical tradition. This learning-teaching activity is intended to make the contents, the argumentative techniques and the ways of reasoning in use in contemporary philosophy familiar to the student.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students will receive essential information about the contemporary discussion on human nature and on the most relevant concepts involved in it. They will be expected to acquire the capacity to reflect in a critical way about philosophical issues, and use suitable vocabulary to discuss concrete cases and examples. Students will learn to use their skills to build up opinions about philosophical themes founded on coherent and solid arguments. They will acquire the capacity to orient themselves in philosophical and argumentative texts in general, and to read them critically.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of the course, students will have essential information on some methods and techniques of philosophical research, on some basic questions that theoretical philosophy faces, and will have acquired awareness about the problems concerning the relationships between philosophy, natural sciences, human/social sciences, in their intertwining with the problems of human formation.

PREREQUISITES

No  prior knowledge of philosophy is required. Active participation is essential.

TEACHING METHODS

The course will not consist only of lectures, introducing the main issues of the course and analyzing concepts and problems, but  requires active participation by all students. The participants will be involved in exercises of philosophical analysis and argumentation, in the clarification and discussion of philosophical concepts and concepts in common use.

The slides used during the lectures will be made available on Aulaweb.

Students with disability or other special educational needs are recommended to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course to agree on teaching and exam methods that, in compliance with the objectives of the course, take into account the individual learning approaches and provide appropriate compensatory tools.

For international students, a list of texts in English could be provided on request. The exam may be taken, in the required forms, in English, Spanish or German

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

Human beings, animals, machines
"We are not machines"; "I am not an animal" - these and similar expressions are part of common language. Are they really justified, are we really able to give reasons for them? Is there something that actually distinguishes the human animal unequivocally from all other animals and from machines? One of the tasks of philosophy is to question ideas that seem natural, concepts on which we rely in our speech, transforming tacit assumptions into theses that we are able to argue (or to review critically). This task is now made more difficult by changes in scientific knowledge and technology: the knowledge we have today about non-human animals, the projects to produce artificial intelligence and even artificial consciousness, the neuroscientific investigations on the human brain make the classic question about human nature - "what is the human being?" - particularly complex. The answer we give are, nevertheless, essential for our way to act and to think. This course offers some tools that allow a first orientation about the contemporary debate on human nature, stressing its relevance for our culture and our choices.

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

1) D.C. Dennett, La mente e le menti. Verso una comprensione della coscienza, Sansoni, Milano, 1997.
2) 
 J. Dupré, Natura umana. Perché la scienza non basta, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2007.

3) a third book should be chosen among following texts:

- F. Remotti, Fare umanità. I drammi dell'antropo-poiesi, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2021.
- F. Remotti, Contro natura, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2008.
- F. de Waal, La scimmia che siamo. Il passato e il futuro della natura umana, Garzanti, Milano, 2006.
- P. Dumouchel, L. Damiano, Vivere con i robot. Saggio sull'empatia artificiale, Cortina, Milano, 2019.
- M. O'Connell, Essere una macchina, Adelphi, Milano, 2018.
- M. Rowlands, Il lupo e il filosofo, Mondadori, Milano, 2015.
- N. Cristianini, La scorciatoia. Come le macchine sono diventate intelligenti senza pensare in modo umano, Bologna, il Mulino, 2023. 
- J. Barrat, La nostra invenzione finale. L'intelligenza artificiale e la fine dell'età dell''uomo, Nutrimenti, Roma, 2019.
-  Björn Larsson, Essere o non essere umani. Ripensare l’uomo tra scienza e altri saperi, Cortina, Milano, 2024.

For international students, a list of texts in English or in other languages could be provided on request.

Other texts may be indicated during the course. It is advisable to consult Aulaweb for updates.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

LESSONS

LESSONS START

The course will take place in the second semester. The lessons will start in the week 17-21 February 2025.

EXAMS

EXAM DESCRIPTION

The exam will be oral and consists of an interview on the scheduled texts.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

The aim of the oral exam is to assess 1) the student's ability to orient her/himself in texts; 2) the student’s capacity to identify underlying concepts and argumentative techniques; 3) the student’s capacity to understand and carry out philosophical reasoning and to address philosophical issues. It intends to verify not only knowledge but the acquisition of skills of analysis and discussion of philosophical issues.

FURTHER INFORMATION

By agreement with the teacher, foreign students will be allowed to read texts in English or in other languages. The exam can be taken in English, Spanish or German.