Creative Thinking & the Power of Ideas

Subject PHIL90021 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Total 24 hours (2 hours per week)
Total Time Commitment: Total 120 hours
Prerequisites: None
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 Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof John Armstrong


Associate Professor John Armstrong
Subject Overview:

How can we learn to think creatively - while being practical and relevant? The aim is not only to think differently, or have new thoughts, but to think better and have more important and more useful ideas. How can we harness the power of good ideas, when bad or misguided ideas often seem to hold centre stage? How can we overcome our own intellectual inhibitions and obstacles? Can you see where your own thinking gets stuck? Do you find it easier to take in the ideas of others than to put together your own views in a convincing fashion and in a way that you feel confident about? Can we find ways of linking emotional intelligence and rational argument? How do you learn from people you disagree with? All these issues are to do with becoming a confident, helpful and successful thinker in the rough conditions of the world. We are addressing one of the basic questions of civilisation: how can the intellectual virtues, nurtured in the specialised environment of the arts and humanities, be put to good use in the very different circumstances of business, administration and the media?

  • Understand the key strategies for creative thinking.
  • Be able to use these strategies in facing real-world thinking problems.
  • Be aware of the obstacles to creative thinking.
  • Be better able to recognise the potential of a good idea.
Assessment: 1. A class presentation equivalent to 750 words during the teaching period (15%) 2. Two projects of 1250 words each due during the teaching period (50%) 3. A 1750-word essay due at the end of the teaching period (35%)
Prescribed Texts:

Armstrong, John. 2009 In Search of Civilisation, Allen Lane & Penguin Books Nietzsche. The Uses and Abuses of History for Life Subject Reading Pack

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • The confidence to think clearly and constructively about problems to which there is no obvious (and perhaps no correct) solution.
  • The capacity to identify and articulate what is most important in a situation, when there is pressure to think and say otherwise.
  • The ability and confidence to see through passing fashions of thought.
  • A honed capacity to recognise when they do not understand something - and to recognise when others do not understand (despite giving the impression of mastery).
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 point program - full time over 12 months
200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months

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