Objectivity and Value

Subject 161-202 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week, 5.5 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: At least one first-year single-semester philosophy subject or permission from the Head of School or subject coordinator.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Neil Levy


Subject Overview: This subject explores the nature of value – including moral and ethical value, and aesthetic, religious and political value – in human life. Are such values capable of being objectively true or real; or are they essentially ‘subjective’, having no ground or warrant outside the individual’s (or perhaps the culture’s) choosing of them? Or does the truth about value lie somewhere else again?
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will
  • be able to apply a range of basic philosophical concepts that have been used to explain the value-orientation of human life and activity
  • have developed a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a human being living a distinctively human life
  • be able to bring this appreciation to bear on their other academic studies, and also on the living of their own lives
Assessment: 3 tutorial essays, worth a total of 25%, an essay worth 35%, and an end-of-semester exam worth 40%
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semester
Recommended Texts: Plato, Gorgias and Republic; Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of a Metaphysic of Morals and Critique of Judgment Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals and Twilight of the Idols Alasdair MacIntyre, A Short History of Ethics
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject will
  • have developed their powers of critical and analytical thinking, and be able to apply these powers to problems and issues in other areas of philosophy, and in other disciplines
  • have acquired a greater capacity both to articulate and express their thoughts, and also to communicate them clearly and directly
  • have an increased understanding of the impact of social, ethical and cultural context on many areas of human activity
Related Course(s): Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Philosophy
Philosophy Major

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