Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0468 (AF:311978 AR:169070)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Term
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The course of Philosophical English aims to focus the position and the evolution of Francis Bacon’s political and moral philosophy within the greater framework of his thought according to a diachronic evaluation of his major works. Specifically, the linguistic, rhetorical, and stylistic evolution that characterized the utopian transformation of the political reform project originally devised by Bacon will be evaluated. The course privileges a thorough linguistic analysis of the texts (syntactic and lexical), the comprehension of their speculative role and textual value as well as a precise cultural-philosophical contextualiation of the analysed works.
General knowledge, comprehension and linguistic analysis of major philosophical texts by Francis Bacon in their original English version.
Contextualiation of Baconian philosophy in the cultural background of late-XVI century England.
Ability to analyse the structures and lexicon of philosophical English.
Knowledge of specific literary styles and forms and their philosophical re-elaboration.
Critical ability to analyse the relation between textual forms and philosophical contents.
English level B2.
Knowledge of major ideas in Francis Bacon's system of knowledge and philosophy.
Main characteristics of philosophical English: syntax, lexicon, and linguistic registers.
Philosophy and writing: textual forms and philosophical issues.
Francis Bacon: political and moral philosophy.

Reading and analysis:
Francis Bacon, Essays
Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning
Francis Bacon, New Atlantis
Primary bibliography
A shortlisted selection of essays and texts for class work will be provided during the course.

Reference edition:
Francis Bacon, The Major Works including New Atlantis and the Essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.
Other editions:
The Oxford Francis Bacon, IV: The advancement of learning, edited with introduction, notes and commentary by Michael Kiernan, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2000.
The Oxford Francis Bacon, XI: The “Instauratio magna” Part II: “Novum organum” and Associated Texts, edited with introduction, notes, commentaries, and facing-page translations by Graham Rees with Maria Wakely, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2004.

Secondary bibliography (required readings)
Guido Giglioni, Capitolo 6 – Filosofia politica, in Francesco Bacone, Roma, Carocci, 2011, pp. 161-193.
Ian Box, Bacon’s “Essays”: From Political Science to Political Prudence, in History of Political Thought, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring 1982), pp. 31-49.
Markku Peltonen, Politics and Science: Francis Bacon and the True Greatness of States, in The Historical Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 279-305.
Howard B. White, Chapter 1 – 2 – 3, in Peace Among the Willows. The Political Philosophy of Francis Bacon, The Hague (Netherlands), M. Nijhoff, 1968, pp. 1-44.

For a general review of Bacon’s life and general philosophical theories:
C. Singer, Francis Bacon, Encyclopaedia Britannica, sub voce.
M. Fattori, Introduzione a Francis Bacon, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1997.
For the exam, students are required to:
1) introduce and contextualise the themes of the course from the theoretical and historical-philosophical point of view;
2) recognise linguistic patterns, literary components and philosophical reasoning in the texts;
3) translate and comment the texts.
Introduction, reading and analysis of the texts.
Students who do not attend lessons are required to discuss the coursework with the teacher.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 02/09/2019