The Faculty of Philosophy of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele is traditionally committed to the development of original and ground-breaking philosophical investigation through lines of research that are constantly and fruitfully intertwined, though following different philosophical traditions and methodologies. The philosophical research stems from the research centers, which support and promote several activities in the areas of ethics and political philosophy, phenomenology, philosophy of mind and language, gender studies, metaphysics and aesthetics, history of ideas. Some of these research lines, in particular philosophy of mind and language, decision theory and rationality theory, gender studies, phenomenology and ethics, are characterized by significant interdisciplinary interactions with scientific studies.

Research methodologies include historical-philosophical investigation, conceptual analysis,  experimental methods, and the most advanced investigation techniques in neuroscience. Each research center carries out its own research in compliance with its own aims and methodologies, but fosters the equal availability of methods of inquiry and conceptual tools to graduate students, so as to encourage young scholars to hold an interdisciplinary approach, aimed at developing original and solidly defensible syntheses concerning various dimensions of human life and experience

Coordinator: Prof. Massimo Reichlin

The procedures for the admission for the a.y. 2018/2019 are OPEN.

PhD Course in Philosophy - cycles XXXI and XXXII

The PhD Course in Philosophy for cycle XXXI and XXXII was divided in 4 curricula:

> Ethics and Philosophy of Person
> Philosophy of Mind, Cognition and Language
> Metaphysics and Aesthetics
> History of Ideas

The main, though not exclusive, goal is the preparation of young scholars to undertake the academic career, both in national and international research institutions and research centers, and the work placement in multidisciplinary professional fields that require philosophical competence.

The following goals are among the PhD main objectives and are shared by all curricula:

  1. the acquisition of competences that unify philosophical understanding of the human experience and the study of natural and social sciences
  2. the mastering of the different languages in which the investigation on the notion of personhood has been developed in Western cultures and is carried out in the main areas of research on human reality
  3. learning the most advanced methods of  investigation in conceptual analysis, historical-theoretical research, rational argumentation, experimental study of cognitive functions
  4. the development of a syncretic perspective on philosophical subject matters – human mind, language, values, behavior, personal life – which unifies historical and philosophical comprehesion and the results from empirical science

These goals are implemented even more effectively in each PhD curriculum, in which specializing competences will be developed through a multidisciplinary analysis of philosophical contents, perspectives and tools that merge into the principal methodology of each research field. The synthesis that each PhD student shall accomplish in her/his research shall not be a blurred mixture of methodologies and contents, rather an enrichment and integration of a main line of investigation with other aspects compatible with her/his research topic, so that what would be overshadowed by a unilateral approach could come to light.

To this aim, each PhD student not only will be able to conceive and construe her/his own original line of research, by being guided by a supervisor and a tutor, but will also attend a training program shared by all curricula, both by didactic seminars and participations in the activities of the other research groups of the PhD program.

By this didactical methodology, each PhD student will have the chance to acquire a unitary view and be equipped with an ample variety of both practical and conceptual research tools, which are often otherwise limited within single academic disciplines. To this extent, such an multifaceted approach sees a rather natural and privileged research environment in University Vita-Salute San Raffaele; the PhD program will also benefit from the collaboration with the interdisciplinary research centers of the Philosophy Faculty and the research centers of the University.

The training activity of the PhD Course in Philosophy  offers both courses and seminars specific to each curriculum both general courses whose participation is open to all students of the different curricula.
See below the organization of training program:

I year

Mandatory common activities:
  • Cycle of reading seminars on a common topic – each student is required to present a text, in cordance with the reference teachers of their CV
  • Front seminars
Mandatory intracurricular activities:
  • Educational seminars
  • Educational seminars with external speaker
  • Workshop and conferences
  • Seminars of Research Center

II year

  • Intracurricular activities (as for the I year)
  • Presentation of student’s research project to other colleagues (in agreement with the coordinator of the curriculum and  thesis supervisor – in the mid of the second year)
  • Each student can identify, in accordance with their own teachers reference, a series of signicative readings for the own research project and present it to groups of colleagues of their subject area – small groups; 6/8 meetings
  • Possible period abroad

III year

The third year is dedicated to thesis writing – nothing anyhow prohibits organize readings cycles (see. Above), provided this does not negatively affect the activity of writing the thesis.

Teaching activity A.Y. 2017/2018

PHD Students Lectures

Lectures held by I year PhD Students:

Marco Di Feo, 21st December 2017 – Il fenomeno dell’integrazione sociale in una prospettiva eidetica 

Nicole Miglio, 17th January 2018 – Fenomenologia della differenza sessuale

Alice Giordano, 24th January 2018 – Arte, natura e formatività in Goethe

Antonio Catalano, 10th May 2018 – Esperienza e corpo tra Bergson e Deleuze. Il comico e le macchine desideranti

Federico Cella, TBD

Lectures held by External Guests

Prof. Stefano Predelli (University of Nottingham), 21-23 February 2018TBD

Prof. Gaetano Rametta (Università di Padova), 8-9 March 2018 – Seminario su Hume-Deleuze

Prof. Elena Casetta (Università di Torino), 9-11 April 2018 – TBD

Prof. Thiemo Breyer (Università di Colonia), 7-8 May 2018 – Intersubjectivity, Embodiment, Emotions


Training activity A.Y. 2015/2016


 The Study Centre for Public Ethics (CESEP), established in 2007 and currently coordinated by Roberta Sala, aims to provide high-level training tools in the field of public ethics, to respond to moral issues of contemporary society that require capacity argumentative, interdisciplinary dialogue and informed debate between interested parties in a joint cooperation. The center promotes to the highest degree the informed and reasonable comparison between the different cultural, philosophical and religious traditions. Professors of moral and political philosophy and young researchers pursuing specific projects work at CESEP.


The Center for Research in Experimental and Applied Epistemology was founded in 2006, currently it is directed by Matteo Motterlini. The main aim is to promote a fruitful interaction between philosophy, cognitive science and neuroscience, which is expressed in the epistemological reflection on the method and the results of the sciences of mind and in the application of the ideas that result in fields like information technology knowledge, information design, economics and decision making, communication, marketing and social sciences. There are many publications that belong to members of CRESA, both in terms of articles on national and international journals, both in terms of monographs (Motterlini M., Guala F., Mente Mercati, Decisioni, Università Bocconi Editore, Milano 2011). The opportunity to conduct experiments neuroimaging has led to the publication of specialized articles in international journals (including Understanding Others’ regret, PlosONe, Motterlini M. et al; Learning form other’s people experience: A neuroimaging study of decisional intercative-learning, Motterlini M. et al.). CRESA has also active collaboration both with private entities (MilanLab) as with important international research centers (MontiLab, University of California Los Angeles).


Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the History of Ideas was established in June 2012, it is directed by Andrea Tagliapietra. Its purpose is to collect, coordinate and promote research, teaching, conferences, seminars and studies concerning contemporary culture in its relationship with the historical and symbolic dynamics that constitute it and determinate its intrinsic ideological nature. The Center is a place of research, discussion and education. The fruitful interaction and the plurality of traditions of thought, theories and practices of care aimed at the research, understanding and rethinking of anthropological question – summed up and around to the question “quid est homo?” – that characterizes the undertaking ideal and inspiration for San Raffaele, appear the most appropriate space in which it can take place that hospitable and constitutively interdisciplinary survey which forms the history of ideas as an organ critical of the dominant ideologies that, with their crystallization, orient and limit the potential and the freedom of knowledge, and the study of the institutions where the designing practice of human has from time to time materialized. The center has its own magazine, the ” Critical  Journal of History of Ideas” (

Centro Persona

Centre for Research in Phenomenology and Science of person.  PERSONA Center was established in 2009 and it is directed by Roberta De Monticelli. The main research areas of the center are: co-gnitive Phenomenology and Neuroscience, regional Phenomenology and Ontologies, norms and values, Theories of experience, Phenomenology and education. Since the approval of ministerial research projects (PRIN), with sponsorship from foundations and publishing houses (including the Mondadori Foundation and the publisher Raffaello Cortina), and thanks to collaboration with graduate students, young researchers and scholars of phenomenology the Centre produces monographs, scientific articles and international conferences. The Centre annually organizes Summer and Winter School, realizes international conferences and publishes the journal Phenomenology and Mind ( it founded the Seminary of Phenomenology and the blog, meeting places and permanent exchange, one live and the other virtual, open to all students and scholars of phenomenology and philosophical fields with in the center of the phenomena of our “world of life”.


Research Centre for Metaphysics and Philosophy of Arts, founded in 2014 and directed by Massimo Donà. It conducts research about the great questions of ontology, metaphysics and aesthetics, with emphasis on the classical tradition and the aporias intrinsically linked to the say philosophical, that has always been an unsay; a conscious say of conceptual congestion connected to every metaphysical genuinely prospect. The truth is not always critics of the truth, but also awareness of the fact that the non-truth is itself in depth, and that the party game is a game without end that perhaps, because of it, can enable us to expose the different strategies of “power.”

Interuniversity Research Centre of "Culture of Gender"

Formed in 2012 by the will of the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Università degli Studi di Milano, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Università degli Studi Milano-Bicocca, Politecnico di Milano, Università IULM. The center aims to promote, develop and coordinate gender studies and research of the six universities of Milan in order to strengthen the interaction between scientists and researchers and with the society and the territory. In particular, the Centre aims to give visibility and develop several studies and research programs on gender issues already active in the universities involved, promote and co-ordinate new research, especially those encouraging interdisciplinary, encourage opportunities of exchange with other public and social actors in the area for training purposes, informational and social transformation in the future anti-discrimination, encourage interaction between scholars and students of various universities; gender issues have interdisciplinary nature and therefore require a research approach that involves different skills, philosophical, psychological, medical, and scientific.


Consists of two broad sections, the Biomedica and the philosophical. Philosophical section offers an extensive collection of books 13,000 volumes rising steadily. Two other key components of the catalog of our library are the Fund Emo and Fund Reale.

The Fund Emo, that is the private library of Count Andrea Emo, passionate student of philosophy and author of several posthumous works, including Notebooks of metaphysics, recently published in the series of “Il Pensiero Occidentale”, was donated in 2004 and has about 7,000 books and 122 magazines on philosophy and literature. The preciousness of the fund, apart from its organic and completeness, is the presence of numerous first editions, in particular the writings of the greatest philosophers and scholars of the Italian early twentieth century.

The Fund Reale, donated by Professor Giovanni Reale, a distinguished professor of the history of ancient philosophy, has been recently acquired and has about 2,300 original works of philosophy and critical studies on ancient philosophy and patristics. This provision constitutes an important extension of the bibliographic heritage with regard to periods of classical Greek philosophy and the philosophy of the Christian origins, with particular reference to the studies on Plato and Platonism.

Biomedical section consists of 12000 volumes rising steadily. The library is part of the Consortium interlibrary SBBL (Lombard Biomedical Library System), the first Italian experience consortium of large libraries in the biomedical field, adheres to GIDIF-RBM, collective catalog of periodicals of 50 biomedical libraries, and Biblio-san, a Consortium nationwide including 45 prestigious structures (IRCCS, Zoo prophylaxis Institutes, national Institute of Health, ISPELS) wanted by the Ministry of Health. Of great importance, the Library has recently acquired a fund of ancient books and documents on the subject of “contagion”. The donation comes from prof. D’Agostino, for years president of the Italian Diabetes Society, who has dedicated his life to the growth of this collection. The collection contains rare and often unique health documents, all prior to the unification of Italy.

The Library also has 40,000 volumes of vintages periodicals and over 350 are the active subscriptions in print and on-line, if any. The purchasing policy is addressing significant resources toward the purchase of packages of electronic journals of the largest publishers in the biomedical field and today there are over 3500 e-journals owned by the Library.

Computational Resources

Students have access to three computer rooms equipped with updated software for statistical analysis (such as SPSS, OpenMX, R, MPlus) and access to major banks online dates (such as PubMed, Psy-chInfo, JSTOR).

The application to the PhD Course in Philosophy can be submitted, regardless of age or citizenship, by those holding a 5-year University Degree (according to the old Italian regulation), a Master’s Degree (according to the new Italian regulation) (hereinafter, the “Degree”) or an equivalent foreign academic qualification valid for admission to the Ph.D..

Final year students can also apply only if they will graduate before October 31st, 2018, under penalty of exclusion from selection.

The information below is an excerpt, for information only, of what is reported in the Call for application which represents, in the Italian version, the only legal communication of the related contents and therefore, in the event of a dispute, will only be valid the text of the Call in Italian.

Number of Positions Available

This Call is for the assignment of 5 positions:

 4 fellowships

1 position without fellowship

Admission Procedures

Registration and application must be done exclusively online, through the University website (

To be admitted to the competition, Italian citizens, EU and non-EU must pay € 50.00 according to the modalities indicated on the online registration form. Please note that the only fee payment does not mean the candidate has registered correctly to the competition.

This amount will not be reimbursed whatever the reasons for not participating in the admission selection.


Registration for the competition consists in two steps:

  1. Registration of personal data and registration to the competion- “INSTRUCTIONS“;
  2. After successful registration, the candidate access through the link, proceed to the payment of the fee for the chosen competition;
  3. Fill out the application form;
  4. Attach the required documentation.;


The candidate receives an email confirming the application.

Application Form

The application must be drawn up and submitted exclusively using the electronic form through the link

In the application, Candidate shall provide a description of current research activities, scientific interests, and any information required in the online form and s/he must indicate the PhD Curriculum of interest. In case Candidate wish to apply for both Curricula, s/he shall select both Curricula in the application form. The electronic form shall be filled out only once.

In the application form, candidate must  include a research project, according to the following scheme, describing his/her study interests with a brief reference to the state of the art, the main outstanding issues and the future directions and the different aspects, for each Curriculum chosen ,of the proposed project: State of the art (max. 6.000), Development proposal (max. 6.000), Bibliography (max. 3.000), Keywords (max. 5).

After submitting the online application, Candidate must enclose in the same online registration system, the following documentation as a pdf file:


  • Application Form, duly signed;
  • A self-certification of the Master’s Degree (according both to the old and the new Italian regulation), indicating the thesis title, the graduation mark, and the list of relevant exams;
  • A self-certification duly filled out (Attachment 2) where the Candidate declares that the publication(s) sent via email (please indicate also the title of each publication) comply with the original.
  • ONLY for candidates who have chosen the International Curriculum in Philosophical Issues in an International Perspective, a B2 level certificate attesting the knowledge of French or English. In the case of bilingualism or qualifications obtained abroad (French or English language), self-certification is sufficient;
  • ONLY for candidates who have not yet graduated upon submission of the online application, the list of all exams taken including the relative marks and the average grade;
  • A copy of a valid identification document.


N.B.: An electronic copy of the most relevant publications (up to a maximum of 5) and/or MA degree Thesis can be sent, only in electronic format (.pdf file) to within the deadline set for submission of applications.



Moreover, Candidates holding a foreign academic qualification, which has not yet been declared equivalent to an Italian degree, shall enclose to the application any documents that may be useful for the Examination Committee to declare its equivalence, as set forth by article 2 of this call.

Registration and application for the competition must be done within July 23rd 2018 at 1:00 pm.

The information above is an excerpt, for information only, of what is reported in the Call for application which represents, in the Italian version, the only legal communication of the related contents and therefore, in the event of a dispute, will only be valid the text of the Call in Italian

Selection Procedures

The admission to one of the Curricula of the PhD Course is subject to the successful results of a comparative assessment divided into two stages, as defined in the Call for Application.

First evaluation phase

This phase is not public; it is carried out by the Commission and does not require the presence of the Candidates, and concerns the evaluation of:

  1. The qualifications submitted, as described above and, more precisely: curriculum vitae indicated in the electronic form, degree (5-year degree, as per old Italian regulation, or Master’s Degree, as per new Italian regulation), final graduation mark, and list of the exams and the relevant marks, any publication or submission of abstracts to conferences.
  2. The written project, to be inserted as well in the electronic form that shall be related to the Candidates’ research interests;
  3. reference letters, directly submitted to the PhD Office of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan by referees listed by the Candidate in the application form.


The Selection Committee will draw up the ranking of those admitted to the second phase.


Only Candidates who have obtained a score greater than or equal to 60% of the maximum score attributable for the first evaluation (60 points) are admitted to the second phase.

Second assessment phase

This phase consists of an interview with the Examination Committee.

During the interview Candidate shall have with themselves one of the following identification documents: identity card, driving licence, passport or any other documents provided for by law, provided they have a photograph and a stamp, or another equivalent marking, and that they have been issued by a state authority.

The interview will consider:

  • the general and specific qualifications of the Candidate;
  • the knowledge of English or French;
  • the motivation for pursue the PhD Course, and further professional research path..

At the end of the second assessment phase, the Examination Committee shall draft a final ranking based on a comparative assessment.

Candidates with a final score lower than 60% of the total attributable score (100 points) will be considered non-eligible


Assignment of the Available Positions

There exists only one final ranking, which is updated after each withdrawal.

Candidates can accept the position in the awarded Curriculum, renouncing the fellowship. In this case, the first eligible candidate of the same Curriculum receive the position with fellowship.

Assignment of available positions (procedures are detailed in the Call, art.5.3)

  • First are assigned the 4 fellowships (to be assigned to the 2 Curricula)
  • Once the positions with fellowship are assigned, a ranking list updated according to the withdrawals will be published. The second phase begins with the assignment of the position without fellowship


REFERENCE LETTER – Attachment 1 (file word e file pdf)

All reference letters, which have not been drafted according to the form (Attachment 1) or submitted in different ways than those described in the Call will be rejected.

SUBSTITUTIVE DECLARATION – Attachment 2 (file word e file pdf)

The entitled persons shall avail themselves of what is set forth in Italian Presidential Decree no. 445/00, as amended and integrated, governing substitute declarations, by using Attachment 2, in case they attest other circumstances provided for by Articles 46 and 47 of Italian Presidential Decree no. 445/00


Currently not available

Terms and porcedures of Enrolment

Candidates awarded a position with fellowship shall proceed to formalising the enrolment through the dedicated webpage, by entering the data received during the Online registration  ( within two working days from the publication of the ranking (please see Art. 5.3 of the Call).  Candidates being awarded with a position without a fellowship have five days to do so.

Candidate who does not proceed to the online enrolment within the set deadlines or does not complete the enrolment within two working days after the online enrolment will be deemed renouncers and will lose the right to enrol.


Whenever an assignment phase is completed or after any withdrawals, upon publication of the update ranking on our website Candidates eligible for one of the positions will receive a communication, for information purposes only, to the email address they indicated in their applications.

Failure to receive said email shall not be considered as an objection for the missed enrollment.


The PhD Course in Philosophy 

is divided in two Curricula