PhD in Philosophy

Philosophical Disciplines

Curriculum Coordinator: Prof. Francesco Valagussa

The cv in Philosophical Disciplines develops research on the main areas of philosophical interest for the Faculty of Philosophy of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele. These are basically the following four: ethics and the philosophy of the person; the philosophy of mind, cognition and language; metaphysics and aesthetics; the history of ideas.

  • The first area is concerned with issues in ethics, political philosophy and the philosophy of the person. Specific issues in this area are the following:
  1. theories of moral knowledge, normative perspectives, applied ethics, empirical research on moral psychology and the notions of free will and moral responsibility;
  2. political obligations, theories of rights and of justice, public decision-making, multiculturalism, minority rights and gender issues;
  3. the notion of the person as the constitutive mark of humanity, the phenomenology of mental life, social cognition and acts, the ontology of institutions and of artefacts.
  • The second area is concerned with issues in the philosophy of mind, of language and of cognitive science, as well as with their connection with similar disciplines, such as the philosophy of mathematics and of logic. Specific issues in this area are the following:
  1. theories of mental phaenomena and of mental content, theories of decision-making and of rational action, theories of intentionality and of consciousness, and the philosophy of perception;
  2. the reflection on the relationship between language and communication, with special reference to cognitive pragmatics and its connection to political and gender issues, as well as questions concerning the mental processes and cognitive faculties at the basis of linguistic production and comprehension;
  3. the relationship between classic and experimental epistemology, the epistemic issues of mathematical knowledge, philosophical research on formal languages, non-classical logic and the foundations of mathematics.
  • The third area is concerned with the issues of being, truth and beauty, starting from the classics to contemporary perspectives. Specific issues in this area are the following:
  1. classical ontology and fundamental metaphysical concepts, contemporary nihilism, metaphysical questions on the world and on human beings in the light of contemporary science, issues of post-modernity;
  2. rational theology, the limits of an “onto-theology” and the development of alternative theological paradigms (negative theology, henology, mysticism, symbolic theology);
  3. classical reflection on art and the forms of doing, from the Middle Age to the XX century, the aesthetics of the sacred, the philosophy of the sublime, the philosophy of romance and of fashion.
  • The fourth area is devoted to tackling traditional philosophical issues and renewing them by focusing on the evolution of the issues, the concepts and the languages that have expressed them in the philosophical tradition. Specific issues in this area are the following:
  1. the notions of hermeneutics and history of ideas as a privileged approach to the history of philosophy;
  2. the study of the great metaphysical traditions of Greece, and of the history of their effects on Hebrew, Christian and Islamic thought, the relationship between the monotheistic faith and Hellenic reason, the study of Renaissance philosophy and of Italian philosophy in general;
  3. the issues of secularisation, de-Hellenization, political theology and the second axial age.