THEORETICAL AND SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF MODERNITY

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in Communication Sciences
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2016/2017
Year: 
3
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2018/2019
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Credits: 
6
Period: 
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
48
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)
Requirements: 

None.

The exam is oral and will be held in a unique session at the end of the course.
However, the professor reserves the faculty to make a preliminary verification in the form of short written questions about the main topics of the course, whose dates and modalities will be announced both during the lessons and on the Insubria E-learning platform.
In order to stimulate the development of critical skills and judgment autonomy, each student must choose a topic among those of the course and do a work of personal deepening, starting from what is said in the main text of reference and integrating it with one or two other texts, freely chosen among the suggested ones. The exposition will be exclusively oral: neither written texts nor PowerPoint presentations will be accepted. If necessary, the professor may eventually complete the exam by asking some questions about both the exposition of the student and other topics of the course.
As for the attribution of the final grade, both the intrinsic value of the deepening work and the quality of the exposition of each student, as well as the answers to the eventual questions, will be considered, particularly evaluating the level of personalization and the critical consciousness. If the written preliminary verification has actually been done, it will be considered, too, although its relevance will be minor with respect to the result of the oral exam.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

The main objective of the course is to investigate the conceptual and practical foundations which modern society is based on, whose origin, according to the la thesis that will be maintained in the course, is not unique, as usually it is said, but duplex, the first one being represented by experimental science founded by Galileo, which is based on an “open” idea of reason, and the second one on the peculiar kind of philosophy founded by Descartes, which instead is based on a “close” idea of reason”, which not only has nothing to do with the one which is characteristic of science, but rather it is its exact opposite.
Then, it will be showed how such inner contradiction to the foundations themselves of modernity, which has had consequences at every level (theorical, political, economic, and personal), is the main cause of a substantial part of our present problems.
Finally, we’ll try to find a possible way out, based on the overcoming of the fracture between reason and reality and the recovery of an integral notion of experience.

First of all, the two opposite roots of modernity will be explained: the birth of modern science by Galileo, and that of modern philosophy, by Descartes.
Then, we’ll try to clarify which consequences these two two currents of thought have had on the formation of the consciousness of modern man, particularly showing how science has progressively overcome a purely mechanical conception of the world, which instead is spreading more and more worryingly in our culture and in our life, especially from a practical point of view, at every level (social, political, economic, ecological, personal and even affective), often in ways not immediately evident, but nonetheless absolutely real and concrete.
Finally, we will try to suggest a possible solution, which will necessarily start from the recovery of the right relationship with reality, respect to which science, if correctly understood, can provide us a greatest help.

The main reference text is:
Paolo Musso, La scienza e l’idea di ragione, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2011 (only the chap. 1,2,7,8,9), which will be integrated by references to selected passages from the following books:
Václav Havel, Il potere dei senza potere, Itaca, Castel Bolognese, 2013.
Hannah Arendt, La banalità del male, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2016.
George Orwell, 1984, Mondadori, Milano, 1983.
Benoît Mandelbrot, Il disordine dei mercati, Einaudi, Torino, 2005.
More precise information will be provided in class and on the E-learning platform.

Convenzionale

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 conditions and the available funds, there will be also some moments of dialogue with some significative personalities and/or some guided visits to places of interest for the topics discussed during the course.
Furthermore, 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 some topics which are treated also in the course of Theoretical and Social Foundations of Modernity will be deepened.

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 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 in the E-learning platform of the Insubria University. Students are therefore kindly requested to download it as soon as possible and to read it very carefully in all its parts.

Professors