In the academic year 2019-20 the central theme is: 'The ethics and Politics of Friendship'.
The course is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 offers a reconstruction of the crucial analysis of friendship by Aristotle, based on the textual analysis of the relevant parts from his Ethica Nicomachea. We thus develop a framework for a philosophical analysis of friendship and elucidate, starting from Aristotle, how the philosophical discourse of friendship evolved through intellectual history. This evolution is sketched, relying on the analysis of the essay by Montaigne De l’Amitié, Hume's analysis of humanity and friendship in his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, and Kant's vision on friendship and self-love, to conclude with a digression on the possibility/impossibility of friendship in our modern culture (as analyzed by Nietzsche and Derrida).
In Part 2, a more thematic focus is laid on a number of aspects of the philosophical analysis of friendship. The topics covered are: the political meaning of friendship in Modernity (starting from Carl Schmitt), the bond between charity and friendship (Simone Weil), the pathology of friendship and love (Marcel Proust). These analyses are based on the source texts or on relevant secondary literature, including Martha Nussbaum's analysis of love in the work of Marcel Proust.