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Social sciences and humanities


single-cycle master degrees (5 years) in LAW

Course year 2
Teaching units Unit Teoria dell'argomentazione normativa
Philosophy and Law (lesson)
  • TAF: Basic compulsory subjects SSD: IUS/20 CFU: 6
Teachers: Gianfrancesco ZANETTI
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Aula virtuale su Microsoft Teams (immatricolati: 2020)

in attesa di attivazione da parte del docente

Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Gianfrancesco ZANETTI


The first aim of the course is to teach the student the structure of normative thought, i.e. that thought which offers the arguments to justify and support decisions - or statements - defended, on a general level, by philosophers and scholars and, on a daily practical level, by judges and other professional figures (e.g., physicians and social service operators).
The second aim of the course is to provide the student an applicable example of that approach, with reference to some concerns relative to the relation between discrimination, perception and law.

Admission requirements


Course contents

The course is divided into two parts.
The first part has a purely theoretical nature and aims to clarify the structure of normative thought. Issues that will de discussed will be, for example, the notions of autonomy and equality, the structure of normative discourse, the principle of relevance, the relationship between pluralism and institutions, the problem of shared values and shared texts.
The second part offers an example of the theoretical discourse defined in part one, with reference to the relation between vulnerability, discrimination and perception, starting from the symbolic logic of the five senses and the concerns related to the perspective of the so-called "situated vulnerability".

Teaching methods

The course is made by 42 lesson hours (mostly traditional lessons). Seminars, with the participation of relevant scholars and experts will be offered to students. The whole course will develop the students' ability to interact through argumentation processes and discuss with the professor. The course will be held in person, or remotely (in streaming and/or using asynchronous modes) depending on the health conditions and the consequent organizational measures required; students will be promptly informed.

Assessment methods

The examination will focus on: critical knowledge of the disussed topics; ability to use knowledge; ability to connect knowledge; mastery of the technical-legal language; ability to argue; ability to deepen the topics; ability to research, understand, interpret and use relevant sources and materials; autonomy of judgment. There will be an oral examination, following an "inverted cone" structure from general questions to more specific and detailed ones. About 6 questions will be asked. An average examination lasts about 30 minutes. Exams will take place orally in person, compatibly with health provisions or particular technical needs.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and comprehension abilities. Knowledge of the fundamental issues of the argumentation theory, starting from the concept of equality, as well as the main arguments of the debate relative to the realtion between discrimination and perception.

Ability to apply knowledge and comprehension. Ability to analyze with awareness the critical aspects referred to the applicability of the argumentation theory to the contexts of a pluralistic society; acquisition of an argumentation method to express choices in complex situations, in academic and working contexts.

Independent judgment. Ability to critically collect and interpret data and complex information in the specific study field (from controversial situations).

Communication skills. Ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to a non-specialist audience, with reference to the specific academic field, the proper lexicon and its critical articulation.
The dialogue with the professor allows students to develop reflections and arguments in an efficient and direct way (in particular through the analysis of controversial situations); the final oral examination allows students to express the concepts developed throughout the course with an appropriate lexicon and to discuss their topics using an argumentation approach.

Learning skills. Acquisition of references, instruments and learning abilities which are necessary to further develop the argumentation knowledge acquired and to apply this knowledge, consolidated by the analysis of cases.


1) Gf. Zanetti, Eguaglianza come prassi. Teoria dell'argomentazione normativa, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2015
2) Gf. Zanetti, Filosofia della vulnerabilità. Discriminazione, percezione, diritto, Carocci, Roma, 2019.