Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


The anti-metaphysical turning point in analytic philosophy
La svolta antimetafisica della filosofia analitica

A.Y. Credits
2022/2023 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Gino Tarozzi Wednesday after the lesson (5pm - 7pm), Palazzo Veterani
Teaching in foreign languages
Course partially taught in a foreign language English
This course is taught partially in Italian and partially in a foreign language. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Art History (LM-89)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The course intends to introduce the analytical philosophy of language, starting from some texts of the classic philosophers of neo-positivism, and their well-known anti-metaphysical theses. For this reason it is aimed both at those who are following a curriculum of philosophical studies, and at those who wish to enrich their humanistic or scientific training with the fundamental notions of this discipline. It is a study that will require intellectual commitment, but it will help to develop rigor, clarity and precision of language and thought. This is why it is recommended to attend classes from the beginning, actively and regularly. Those who are unable to attend can equally prepare the exam on the texts indicated, but serious application and aptitudes for independent study, analysis and abstract thinking are necessary.


The so-called linguistic turning point in the philosophy of the 20th century, carried on by neo-positivism, has led to the idea that philosophy is not able to formulate propositions endowed with cognitive meaning, since all the main metaphysical theses would have been incapable of satisfying any criterion of empirical confirmation and for this reason the only statements endowed with meaning would have been the scientific ones.

Hence an apparently insurmountable separation between two completely different ways of doing philosophy has emerged: the former, almost completely subordinated to science, of linguistic analysis and elucidation of its logical structure, of its concepts and principles; the latter opposed to science, viewed as a form of inauthentic knowledge incapable of giving an answer and completely indifferent to our major fundamental issues.

The aim of the course is to highlight how the previous opposition can be overcome, demonstrating how the main metaphysical theses properly reformulated can satisfy the neo-positivistic criteria of meaning. After having dwelt on their different formulations starting from Schlick’s notion of verification to Ayer’s indirect verifiability and to Carnap’s testability, and on their actual application to the elimination of metaphysics, we will examine Carnap’s famous refutations of the theses of metaphysical realism and of Heidegger’s conception of no-thing, we will show the existence of a significant reformulations of both the reality principle, based on the displacement of this notion from the object to its predictable properties, and of the concept of nothingness once the latter is no longer understood as absolute nothingness, but as relative nothing.

Bridging Courses

There are no strict pre-requisites for this course.

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Applying knowledge and understanding:

After the course students should be able to discuss and evaluate various claims and arguments both in the specialistic debate and in the general contemporary cultural debate. 

Making judgements:

After the course students should be able to make autonomous and original judgements about the arguments in the debate. To this end discussions in the classroom will be encouraged. Originality and autonomous judgement will be part of the final evalution of the student's performance.

Communication skills:

After the course students should be able to explain and discuss the relevant topics with conceptual and linguistic exactness, and to offer efficacious  and synthetic accounts of the subject matter. To this end, verbal interaction in the classroom and a careful reading and analysis of the relevant texts will be encouraged.

Learning skills:

After the course students should be acquainted with the subject matter and the method of research enough to be able to proceed on their own  in gathering further knowledge from the literature in the field and in contiguous fields. To this end they should also improve their ability to read English texts in the field.After the course students should be able to understand and explain texts by history of logic, discuss some of the classical problems in mechanization of reasoning and philosophy of computing, use the bibliographical tools and repertories available in this field. 

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Lectures: Lectiones Commandinianae;

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Classroom lectures offering general frameworks, analyses of particular topics and exercises, comments to the relevant literature. Before, during and after the lecture questions, comments and discussions by the students are encouraged. Of course personal study at home will be equally important.

Innovative teaching methods

Active involvement of students through the presentation and discussion of in-depth analysis of the topics of the course


Students should attend classes regularly and actively, since the very beginning. Because of the analytic and often abstract character of the subject matter, active participation in classroom discussion will be very useful. In order to do that, and in general to follow the lectures successfully, it is strongly advised to do every day the homework suggested as preparation for the following lecture.

Course books

M. Schlick, “Significato e verificazione”, in La struttura logica del linguaggio, a cura di A. Bonomi, Bompiani, Milano (1973); pp. 71-101

R. Carnap, “Il superamento della metafisica mediante l’analisi logica del linguaggio”, in Il neoempirismo, a cura di A. Pasquinelli, UTET, Torino, 1969; pp. 504-532

C.S. Peirce, “Pragmatismo”, in, Scritti scelti, UTET, Torino, (2005); pp. 591-625.

P. Graziani, G. Tarozzi, “I principi metafisici sono veramente privi di significato?” in Un 'austriaco' in Italia. Festschrift in onore del professor Dario Antiseri, a cura di R. De Mucci, K. Leube Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino (2011); pp. 637-651

G. Tarozzi, "Science, Metaphysics and Meaningful Philosophical Principles ", Epistemologia,11

(1988); pp. 97-104 and 229-23


They will study on their own (individually or with others) according to the directions of this vademecum and if possible with the help which can be given by the teacher during office hours or through e-mail, Skype, etc. 

Disabilità e DSA

Le studentesse e gli studenti che hanno registrato la certificazione di disabilità o la certificazione di DSA presso l'Ufficio Inclusione e diritto allo studio, possono chiedere di utilizzare le mappe concettuali (per parole chiave) durante la prova di esame.

A tal fine, è necessario inviare le mappe, due settimane prima dell’appello di esame, alla o al docente del corso, che ne verificherà la coerenza con le indicazioni delle linee guida di ateneo e potrà chiederne la modifica.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


They will study on their own (individually or with others) according to the directions of this vademecum and if possible with the help which can be given by the teacher during office hours or through e-mail, Skype, etc. 


In order to make up for the impossibility of attending classes, a hard and careful study is required. One should already possess good skills of autonomous learning and some capacity to read and understand logic and philosophical texts, at least at a basic level. Whenever possible, it is advisable to work with other students. 

Course books

R. Carnap, “Controllabilità e significato”, in Analiticità, significanza e induzione, a cura di A. Meotti e M. Mondadori, Il Mulino, Bologna (1971); pp. 151-261

R. Carnap, “Pseudoproblemi nella filosofia”, in La costruzione logica del mondo, a cura di E. Severino, Fabbri Editori, Milano (1966); pp. 381-423

G. Tarozzi, “Carnap e il problema del significato delle proposizioni filosofiche”, Mem. Acc. Naz. Sci. Lett. Arti Modena , VII, VIII (1993); pp. 73-80

G. Tarozzi, "Principi filosofici e principi della fisica. La riapertura delle controversie metafisiche nel dibattito sui fondamenti della meccanica quantistica", in, in M. Pera, G. Tarozzi, M. Fleischmann, E. Del Giudice, Lezioni in memoria di Giuliano Preparata, Bibliopolis, Napoli (2006); pp. 21-39

G. Tarozzi, "Realism as a Meaningful Philosophical Hypothesis", Mem. Acc. Sci. Bologna VII, XIII (1980); pp. 89-98

G. Tarozzi, "Can Nothing Cause Nonlocal Quantum Jumps?", with A. Afriat, in Quantum Mechanics. Are There Quantum Jumps? ed. by A. Bassi et al., American Institute of Physics, Melville, New York (2006); pp. 3-7

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