The course is organized in three teaching units. The first teaching unit aims at introducing students to the philosophical analysis of the concepts of freedom, law and justice and of the relations between these concepts and the objects they refer to. It will be considered in particular how the law contributes to determine people's freedom, by reducing or increasing it. The second teaching unit aims at introducing students to the main philosophical conceptions of justice - utilitarianism, anarchism, libertarianism, natural law theory, communitarianism, liberalism and radicalism - and to examine their implications as regards legislation and public policies. The third teaching unit, finally, aims at introducing students to public bioethics, by examining, in the light of the main philosophical conceptions of justice, issues concerning health policies and the different forms of public intervention in the regulation of reproductive choices, of the use of one's own body, and of end of life choices.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course students should have acquired: - knowledge and understanding of the concepts of freedom, law and justice and of the relations between these concepts; - knowledge and understanding of the different ways the law contributes to determine people's freedom; - knowledge and understanding of the main philosophical conceptions of justice and of their implications for legislation and public policies; - knowledge and understanding of the implications of the main philosophical conceptions of justice for the solution of some bioethical issues; - the capability to apply acquired knowledge to elaborate and defend in a public debate a personal normative position on specific problems of justice and of public bioethics.
Lesson period: Third trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The course will be divided into three parts that will address the following topics:
First part (3 weeks)
- Introduction to the philosophical analysis of concepts - The idea of a free will - Two dimensions of freedom - The concept of law - Law and morality - Law and freedom - The concept of justice and the theories of justice - Justice and the validity of law - Justice and the authority of law
Second part (4 weeks)
- Utilitarianism: forms and limits - John Stuart Mill's liberal utilitarianism - The economic analysis of law - The neoclassic conception of natural law: fundamentals - The neoclassic conception of natural law: implications - The communitarian defense of the legal enforcement of morality - Market's justice: anarchism and libertarianism - Liberalism: from equality of treatment to equality of opportunity - Liberalism: equality of opportunity and distributive justice - The radical criticism of liberalism: repression and liberation - The radical criticism of liberalism: the distributive paradigm - The synthesis of liberalism and radicalism
Third part (4 weeks)
- Abortion and infanticide: attempts to avoid the ontological controversy - Abortion and infanticide: the right to life and the value of life - Eugenics - Procreative liberty - The new forms of procreation - Surrogacy - The right to health - Justice in the allocation of scarce medical resources - Assisted suicide and euthanasia
Prerequisites for admission
Lectures will be given in Italian and attending students will be required to read texts and participate to class discussion in that language. Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to take part to these activities could take the exam in English as non-attending students. A bibliography in English will be provided. No other preliminary knowledge is required.
The teaching activities will include lectures and class discussion of assigned texts. The standard language for both activities will be Italian. Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit could take the exam in English as non-attending students. For the final exam, non-attending students should prepare the texts listed in the Bibliography.
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend the classes with profit but who are interested in the topics of the course could take the exam in English as non-attending students. A bibliography in English will be provided on request. In order to get it, email the professor.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit could take the exam in English as non-attending students. The final exam will consist in a mandatory written test and in an optional oral test. The written test will be structured in nine open-ended questions on the assigned texts (see Bibliography). Each answer will be given a mark from 6 to 30 (missing and completely wrong answers will get a 6) and the final mark will result from the arithmetic average of all marks. Students will have two hours to complete the written test. The oral test, that the students could choose either to take or not after receiving the result of the written test, will start from a discussion of the written test and could change its result of a maximum of two marks, for better or for worse. For students who will choose not to take the oral test, the final mark for the exam will be the mark of the written test. Being Italian the standard language for the course, students who want to take the exam in English should inform the teacher by email a few days before the date of the exam.