Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0462 (AF:331523 AR:178062)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course offers a survey of the history of Renaissance philosophy, covering the major figures in the history of Western thought in the 15th and 16th centuries, within the broadest discipline of the history of philosophy. The course will be a review of the philosophical developments in the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution which set the stage for the appearance of the modern world view. The course will pay particular attention in reviewing this history of thought to problems in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy. At the end of the course it will be considered how this history of thought shaped the development of subsequent philosophy.

The course aims to provide a good understanding of key problems and ideas which shaped Renaissance philosophy. At the end of the course the students should have a good understanding of the difference between the traditions of Platonism, Aristotelianism, Scholasticism, Stoicism, and Epicureanism that divided Western thought during this period, as well as some understanding of how this difference has continued to shape the course of the development of philosophy. Considerable attention will also be given to understanding that intellectual, cultural movement known as the Italian Renaissance, a movement which came to a culmination in the philosophies of Giordano Bruno and Tommaso Campanella at the edge of early modern philosophy and which continues to shape, to some extent, the world today. In critically reviewing this history of thought the course also seeks to develop important critical thinking skills.
At the end of the course the students
1) should demonstrate knowledge and understanding in Renaissance philosophy that builds upon their education at BA level, and is typically at a level that includes some aspects that will be informed by knowledge of the forefront of the philosophical research;
2) could apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their possible work or vocation, and have competences typically demonstrated through devising and sustaining arguments and solving philosophical problems;
3) should have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data of a historical text to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues;
4) could communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
5) should have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake more advanced courses or further study with a high degree of autonomy.

The readings, lectures, and assignments will be designed to
• introduce students to some of the central figures in early modern philosophy (Descartes through Kant) and the questions and arguments that preoccupied them;
• introduce students to philosophical methodology in the history of philosophy;
• foster critical engagement with the ideas and arguments discussed;
• increase competencies in reading and writing philosophical texts.
General knowledge of Aristotelianism is required. For the preparation of exam Enrico Berti, Aristotelismo, il Mulino, Bologna 2017 is suggested.
The course will be on Renaissance Aristotelianism, its history and problems. These topics will be explored:

1. Renaissance Aristotelianisms
2. Aristotelian literature
3. The problem of the translations
4. Eclectic Aristotelianism

A focus will be on vernacular Aristotelianism, especially Sperone Speroni's Dialogi with a special focus on the Dialogo della vita attiva et contemplativa, Dialogo delle lingue and Dialogo della retorica.
Charles B. Schmitt, Problemi dell'aristotelismo rinascimentale, Bibliopolis, Napoli 1985.
Alessio Cotugno, La scienza della parola. Retorica e linguistica di Sperone Speroni, Il Mulino, Bologna 2018.
Valerio Vianello, Il letterato, l'accademia, il libro. Contributi sulla cultura veneta del Cinquecento, Antenore, Padova 1988
Further material will be available on moodle
The exam will be constituted by two parts:
1. The oral exam, ca. 30 minutes, will be on 4/5 topics discussed in class.
2. Written review as homework of an article or book chosen by the student on Renaissance Aristotelianism published in the last decade (2010-2020)
Lectures and seminars with debates on the topics discussed in class.
Accessibility, Disability and Inclusion

Ca’ Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding support services and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). If you have a disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services: disabilita@unive.it.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 29/08/2020