Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

phil 188 culture and civilization: italian renaissance philosophy

Spring 2012


Short Description: Italian Renaissance is considered as one of the most important cultural revolutions of our civilization. This course will explore the philosophical grounds of this revolution.

Outcome Statement: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of some of the main philosophers of Italian Renaissance.


Full Course Description:  

The course focuses on major figures and themes of Italian philosophy in the Renaissance. It entails the examination of some fundamental philosophical and historical issues by reading primary texts of Petrarca, Valla, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli, Bruno and Campanella. The analysis of their writings will be supported by the historical reconstruction of the formation of Italian renaissance, especially in reference to the influence of the Arabic reading of Aristotle. The course will then primarily offer an insight on significant aspects of Italian Renaissance culture, namely civic life, education, social organization, ethics and politics, as well on the revolutionary model of Renaissance art as it can be experienced in Rome.

Required Readings:

-          E. Cassirer (ed.) The Renaissance Philosophy of Man.

-          N. Machiavelli The Prince and the Disourses.

-          G. Bruno Cause, Principle and Unity: And Essays on Magic.

-          T. Campanella The City of the Sun.


Course Requirements: 

Student’s final grade will be based on:

-          Two in-class tests: Midterm and Final (40% of the final grade each).

-          In-class presentation and participation (20% of the final grade). Students will be requested to make one presentation (15-20 min. each) for one of the scheduled readings assigned.


Grading Policy:

The following grading scale will be applied for determining the final grade:

Presentation: A=20; A-=18; B+=16; B=14; B-=12; C+=10; C=8; C-=6; D+=4; D=2; D-=1; F=0.

Test (each): A=40; A-=36; B+=32; B=28; B-=24; C+=20; C=16; C-=12; D+=8; D=4; D-=2; F=0.

Final Grade: A=100-95; A-=94-85; B+=84-75; B=74-65; B-=64-55; C+=54-45; C=44-35; C-=34-25; D+=24-15; D=14-5; D-=4-1; F=0.


Attendance Policy:

Students should plan to regularly attend the class, since we will often broaden the topics contained in the texts to contemporary issues, and since this class is mainly intended to the rousing of students’ personal thoughts and ideas.


Statement on Plagiarism:  Plagiarism on the part of a student in academic work or dishonest examination behavior will result minimally in the instructor assigning the grade of "F" for the assignment or examination. In addition, all instances of academic dishonesty must be reported to the chairperson of the department involved. The chairperson may constitute a hearing board to consider the imposition of sanctions in addition to those imposed by the instructor, including a recommendation of expulsion, depending upon the seriousness of the misconduct.


Special Needs: Any student needing a special accommodation in this course due to a documented disability is asked to bring this to the attention of the instructor at the beginning of the semester so that needs can be appropriately addressed.



Course Schedule:

01/16  Introduction

01/18  The Renaissance Philosophy of Man,            pp. 134-143

01/23                                                                     pp. 155-168

01/25                                                                     pp. 169-182

01/30                                                                     pp. 193-202

02/01                                                                     pp. 202-212

02/06                                                                      pp. 223-238

02/08                                                                      pp. 239-254

02/13  Machiavelli                           ch. I p.4, II p.5 & III p.6

02/15                                   ch. IX p. 35, X p.39 & XVII p.60

02/20                                       ch. XVIII p. 63 & XIX p. 66

02/22 “     ch. XXI p. 81, XLIII p. 226, XLIV p.227, XLV p.229 & XLVI p.231

02/27 “           Third Book, ch. II p.403, XIX p.470, XXIX p.495 & XL p.526

02/29  Midterm Exam

03/12  Bruno                                                pp. 33-38

03/14                                                       pp. 39-44

03/19                                                       pp. 45-50

03/21                                                       pp. 81-86

03/26                                                       pp. 87-93

03/28  Campanella                                       pp. 27-51

04/02                                                       pp. 53-77

04/04                                                      pp. 79-103

04/11                                                     pp. 105-127

04/16 Study Day

04/18 Study Day

04/23-27 Final Exam