Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in COMMUNICATION SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
Seat of the course: 
Varese - Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (56 hours)


The exam is individual, and it is composed of two parts.
The first part is aimed to verify that all the main topics treated in the course have been understood by the student, and it consists of 20 short written questions, each one having 4 possible answers, about the chapters 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 of the book “La scienza e l’idea di ragione” (see “Reference texts”). The test will be held at the beginning of each exam session, and it will last one hour. Each right answer will have a value of 0,5 points, for a total maximum value of 10 points.
The second part, which will start immediately after the end of the written test, is aimed to verify the development of critical skills and judgment autonomy of the student, who will have to present a text related to one of the topics treated during the course, chosen from a list which will be uploaded to the E-learning platform at the beginning of the course.
The exposition will be exclusively oral: neither written texts nor PowerPoint presentations will be accepted. Its maximum value will be of 20 points. As for the attribution of the grade, both the intrinsic value of the deepening work and the quality of the exposition will be considered, particularly evaluating the level of personalization and the critical consciousness. The professor may eventually complete the exam by asking some questions about both the exposition of the student and other topics of the course.
The final grade will be the sum of the two scores. The possible attribution of the praise (reserved for those who have obtained a total score of 30) will be based exclusively on the oral presentation.

Voto Finale

The main objective of the course is to investigate the origins of modernity and its peculiar way of thinking, paying a special attention to its relationships with science and Galilean experimental method, on which they pretend to be based, while the thesis we will maintain here is that they are actually based on a “closed” idea of reason, which not only has nothing to do with the one which is characteristic of science but rather is its exact opposite.
Second, we will try to show the consequences, both theorical and practical, of such paradoxical situation, the main ones being the following two:
a) an ever deeper fracture between humanistic and scientific culture, which is continuously producing contrapositions between each other, without any objective reason, since they actually arise from mere misunderstandings, but with more and more dangerous consequences, considering the increasing influence which science has in our life, both at the level of our vision of the world and of the practical organization of our society;
b) the progressive affirmation of what might be called “practical mechanicism”, that is an increasing tendency towards the mechanization of our social and even personal life, what is risking generating an authentic new form of totalitarianism, which claims to be based on science, but actually has its roots in a precise philosophical tradition, whose inconsistency has been demonstrated precisely by modern science, although, despite this, it is still the dominant one in our world.
The final objective is to enable the students to use what they have learned during the course to evaluate from a new and more adequate point of view the main commonplaces of modern mentality.

Considering the peculiar typology of the students of the course of studies in Sciences of Communication, who usually do not have a strong scientific background, first of all the course will try to provide the knowledge needed for a correct understanding of the topic, through the presentation of some of the most important steps in the history of science and the direct contact with the world of scientific research. So, the students will have a personal experience of what kind of reasoning is at work in the phase of scientific discovery, which is very different from the exposition of the outcomes in the school books and even more from the presentation usually provided by mass-media.
Then, it will be shown as the scientific method has been radically misunderstood by modern culture, which, despite its claim of being based on science, on the contrary is based on a “close” idea of reason, which has caused a dramatic fracture between reason and experience, which has had and is still having many negative consequences at every level (social, political, economic, ecological, personal and even affective), often in ways not immediately evident, but nonetheless extremely real and concrete.
Finally, it will be made an attempt of indicating a possible solution.

First of all, some crucial steps in the development of science will be explained: its creation by Galileo, its progressive affirmation thanks, to Newton’s theory of gravitation; then, Boltzmann’s statistical thermodynamics, electromagnetism, Einstein’s theory of relativity, atomic theory, quantum mechanics, cosmology, deterministic chaos, fractal geometry and the emerging of complexity.
At the same time, it will be explained why the authentic scientific method is deeply different from how it is described by both modern epistemology and scientism, being based on an idea of reason structurally open to reality and hence also to the unexpected and the mystery, so that not only science is not an enemy of human and religious values, but rather it is their best ally.
Then, it will be shown the radical misunderstanding of the scientific method made by Descartes and his new idea of reason, radically closed to experience, which has determined the course of philosophical thinking during the next four centuries, finally becoming the authentic “central dogma of modernity”, that nowadays practically nobody is ready to question, despite the evidence of its failure.
Then, they will be shown the negative consequences that the affirmation of such mentality, passed off as scientific while in fact is radically opposite to science, has had and is still having at every level (social, political, economic, ecological, personal and even affective), often in ways not immediately evident, but nonetheless extremely real and concrete.
Finally, it will be made an attempt of indicating a possible solution, which necessarily starts from the recovery of the correct relationship between reason and experience, respect to which science, if correctly understood, can be very helpful.

The main reference text is:
Paolo Musso, “La scienza e l’idea di ragione”, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2019 (2nd edition revised and amplied).
Other important texts to which reference will often be made are:
Stanley Jaki, “La strada della scienza e le vie verso Dio”.
Galileo Galilei, “Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo”.
René Descartes, “Discorso sul metodo”.
George Orwell, “1984”.
Václav Havel, “Il potere dei senza potere”.
Hannah Arendt, “La banalità del male”.
James Gleick, “Caos”.
Benoît Mandelbrot, “Il disordine dei mercati”.
Evandro Agazzi, “L’oggettività scientifica e i suoi contesti”.
However, these are only some examples taken from a wider list, from which the student will have to choose one text to present for the exam (see “Modalities of learning verification”).


Educational activity will be developed through frontal lessons, supported by a very detailed set of PowerPoint presentations and other multimedia tools, including some talks and interviews recorded by the professor himself during international scientific congresses which he has personally attended.
If possible, depending on the availability of the funds needed to invite them, there will be also some moments of dialogue with some significative personalities working in the field of science and science-fiction.
Finally, it is strongly suggested the participation in “Science & Science-fiction”, a series of lectures and guided visits related with the course of “Science and science-fiction in media and literature” of the our Master’s Degree, in which there will be deepened some topics which are treated also in this course.

Students may talk to the professor at the end of each lesson of the course. In the presence of adequate reasons, also by appointment, to be agreed with the professor by phone (335/8205220) or e-mail (
More precise details about the course and the exam will be provided each year in a special file entitled “Descrizione del corso e modalità di esame”, which will be uploaded before the beginning of the lessons to the E-learning platform. Students are therefore kindly requested to download it as soon as possible and to read it very carefully in all its parts.