Justice, Freedom and Equality

Subject PHIL30051 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 35 hours - 2 x 1-hour lectures each week and 1x 1-hour tutorial in weeks 2-12
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

it is recommended that students enrolling in this subject should have completed at least one prior philosophy subject.

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 Daniel Halliday


Email: daniel.halliday@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject investigates central topics in political philosophy. These can be divided into two areas of focus - political legitimacy and distributive justice. The study of legitimacy aims to establish the moral authority of the coercive state. This involves finding ways to answer the anarchist contention that no state can be justified, by developing a moral foundation for the state's authority. The study of distributive justice aims to answer questions about how the state should actually use its coercive powers to regulate the way in which its citizens interact. The focus here is on interpreting various (often competing) political values, such as equality, individual freedom and community.

This subject will make extensive use of historical and contemporary writings. Authors who feature predominantly in this subject include Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and John Rawls. This will be followed by time spent on contemporary authors.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • gain a familiarity with a range of core texts in the history of political thought, and be able to both interpret and evaluate their main arguments;
  • be able to understand the relevance of a range of key concepts to political argument, including (but not limited to) the concepts of coercion, consent, freedom, oppression, ownership, and equality;
  • become more able to defend, and not just coherently state, one's own position with regard to controversial questions in political philosophy;
  • gain an understanding of ways in which topics in political philosophy overlap with the subject matter of other academic disciplines, such as law and the social sciences;
  • work individually, and in groups, to clarify problems, apply reasoning techniques to different issues, and to critically evaluate the results.
  • An essay of 2,000 words, due mid-semester (50%)
  • An essay of 2,000 words, due at the end of semester (50%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Students will advised of the details of the precribed textbook at the start of semester.

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: http://shaps.unimelb.edu.au/philosophy
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Philosophy
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Philosophy
Philosophy Major

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