The Foundations of Interpretation

Subject PHIL30024 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2x 1-hour lectures each week and 1x 1-hour tutorial (weeks 2-12)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

At least 12.5 points (one subject) in philosophy

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:


Dr Francois Schroeter


Francois Schroeter

Subject Overview:

This subject explores the theories of meaning and interpretation developed in contemporary European thought. We will examine questions such as: How do we make sense of texts from other cultures and times? What is it to interpret a text? Is the meaning of a text determined by the author's intentions? Does what we write or say have a single determinate meaning or can conflicting interpretations be equally valid? Major thinkers discussed will be chosen from Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas, Ricoeur, Derrida, Butler and Benjamin. On completion of this subject students should have broad grasp of a variety of competing theories and understand what would be involved in applying them to a critical reading of texts. They should also have a greater awareness of the assumptions that are reinforced or challenged by different reading practices.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • possess a broad knowledge and understanding of different philosophical approaches to interpretation;
  • engage critically with existing philosophical conversations and develop the capacity for critical and creative interventions in those discussions;
  • demonstrate a high-level of fluency in communication and collaboration skills, including oral and written presentation of arguments and effective work in small and large groups;
  • be prepared to engage with the possibility of radical critique of their own presuppostions and commitments.

A 2000 word essay 50% (due mid-semester), a take-home examination of 2000 words 50% (due during the examination period).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After 5 working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Readings will be available online

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
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: European Studies
Philosophy Major
Social Theory
Social Theory

Download PDF version.