Philosophy Descriptions

Unit outlines will be available through Find a unit outline two weeks before the first day of teaching for 1000-level and 5000-level units, or one week before the first day of teaching for all other units.
 

Philosophy

Major

A major in Philosophy requires 48 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 18 credit points of 3000-level units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units

Minor

A minor in Philosophy requires 36 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level units

1000-level units of study

PHIL1011 Reality, Ethics and Beauty

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prohibitions: PHIL1003 or PHIL1004 or PHIL1006 or PHIL1008 Assessment: 1x500wd essay outline (10%), 1x1750wd essay (30%), 250wd equiv online quizzes (10%), 1x2hr final exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit is an introduction to central issues in metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics. It opens with general questions about reality, God, personal identity and free will. The middle section of the unit will consider questions about values, goodness and responsibility. The final part is concerned with the question "what is art", the nature of aesthetic judgment and the role of art in our lives.
PHIL1012 Introductory Logic

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Intensive July,Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Assessment: 10x250wd weekly problem sets (50%), 1x2hr final examination (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
An introduction to modern logic: the investigation of the laws of truth. One essential aspect of good reasoning or argumentation is that it is valid: it cannot lead from true premises to a false conclusion. In this unit we learn how to identify and construct valid arguments, using techniques such as truth tables, models and truth trees. Apart from being a great aid to clear thinking about any subject, knowledge of logic is essential for understanding many areas not only of contemporary philosophy, but also linguistics, mathematics and computing.
PHIL1013 Society, Knowledge and Self

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lectures/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prohibitions: PHIL1010 Assessment: 1x500wd essay outline (10%), 1x1750wd essay (30%), 250wd equiv online quizzes (10%), 1x2hr final exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit is an introduction to central issues in political philosophy, theories of knowledge and philosophical conceptions of the self. The first part will consider the state, freedom and political obligation. The second part will examine some of the major theories of knowledge in the modern philosophical tradition. The final section will look at conceptions of the self as a knowing and acting subject.

2000-level units of study

PHIL2607 Eighteenth Century French Philosophy

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1xhr lecture/wk, 1x1hr tutorial/wk Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x500wd tutorial exercise (10%), 1x2000wd essay (40%), 1x2hr final exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit examines the thought of the central French philosophers of the eighteenth century from Voltaire to Rousseau, including the work of Diderot, d'Alembert and the encyclopedists. It will trace the impact of, as well as reactions to, the new science and Locke's theory of ideas, and it will examine changing attitudes to religion and society.
Textbooks
Readings will be available from the University Copy Centre
PHIL2610 Exploring Nonclassical Logic

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: PHIL1012 Prohibitions: PHIL3214 Assessment: assignments (50%) and 1x2hr exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Classical logic is what you study in introductory units such as PHIL1012. This unit covers major extensions of and alternatives to classical logic, such as temporal, modal, intuitionist, relevance, and many-valued logics. As well as looking at the internal workings of these logics, we examine some of their applications, and the philosophical issues surrounding them.
PHIL2612 History of Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3512 or PHIL2512 Assessment: 2x500wd text analysis exercises (20%), 1x1500wd Essay (40%), 1x2hr exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit considers classic ethical questions about the nature of the good life and moral obligation through a comparative lens. Canonical Western moral philosophers such as Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill are discussed alongside representatives of other less commonly studied philosophical traditions. These other traditions may include: ancient Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of race.
PHIL2613 Plato and Aristotle

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Ancient History Prohibitions: PHIL3013 or PHIL2013 Assessment: 1x2500wd essay (60%) and 1x2hr exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
An examination of the major philosophical themes to be found in the works of Plato and Aristotle, with close attention to a few central works. The course emphasises understanding the ways these philosophers think rather than learning a body of doctrine.
PHIL2614 The Presocratics

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Ancient History Assessment: 1x2500wd essay (60%) and 1x2hr exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
A critical examination of the first developments in philosophy among the early Greeks, emphasising two emerging traditions of philosophy, in Ionia and the Italian peninsula respectively. The main emphases are on the origin of thought about being and the development of different philosophical methods through the activities of criticism and response prevalent among the Presocratics. These activities are particularly well exhibited in the argumentative challenges of Parmenides and Zeno, and the responses made by the fifth-century B.C. thinkers.
PHIL2615 Logic and Proof

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: PHIL1012 Prohibitions: PHIL2215 or PHIL3215 Assessment: 1x2hr exam (50%) and weekly exercises (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
We examine the major ways of proving things in logic: tableaux (trees), axiomatic proofs, natural deduction and sequent calculus. We learn to construct proofs of each of these kinds and then establish fundamental adequacy results (e.g. soundness and completeness) for each kind of proof system.
PHIL2617 Practical Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Intensive February Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level Prohibitions: PHIL2517 or PHIL3617 Assessment: 1x2500wd Essay (40%), Tutorial participation (10%), Tutorial presentation (10%) and 1x2000wd Take-home exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
This unit draws on contemporary moral philosophy to shed light on some of the most pressing practical, ethical questions of our time, including euthanasia, abortion, surrogacy, censorship, animal rights, genetic testing and cloning and environmental ethics. By the end of the unit, students should have a good understanding of these practical ethical issues; and, more crucially, be equipped with the conceptual resources to think through new ethical questions and dilemmas as they arise in their personal and professional lives.
PHIL2618 Aesthetics and Art

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Art History Prohibitions: PHIL2518 or PHIL3681 Assessment: 1x2500wd essay (50%), 1x2000wd take-home exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Why is art important to us? What is an aesthetic response to something? What is the relation between art and aesthetics? Is there such a thing as objective interpretation of an artwork? Or is it all a matter of taste? Should we believe in 'the death of the author'? What is the relation between art and representation, expression and emotion? We shall discuss these and other questions (eg. modernity, metaphor) from the perspective of an historical approach to the philosophical study of aesthetics and art.
PHIL2619 Philosophy of Mathematics

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 junior credit points in Philosophy or 12 junior credit points in Mathematics Prohibitions: PHIL3219 or PHIL2219 Assessment: 1x1500wd assignment (30%), 1x3000wd essay (60%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit focuses on contemporary problems in philosophy of mathematics. Perhaps the most fundamental of these problems is that of determining the subject matter of mathematics. Is mathematical knowledge just logical knowledge, abstract knowledge of the empirical world, or something else? And how do we come by mathematical knowledge? Other topics include, the significance of mathematical results about the limits of mathematics (such as Godel's incompleteness theorems), the nature of infinity, and the relationship between pure mathematics and empirical science.
PHIL2620 Probability and Decision Theory

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2220 Assessment: 1xin-class test (10%), 1x2000wd essay (40%), 1x2hr exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Throughout our lives, in making decisions large and small, we gamble in the face of uncertainty. Because we are always unsure what the future holds, we base our choices on estimates of probability. But what is probability, how do we know about it, and how should we use that knowledge in making rational choices? This unit provides an introduction to the foundations and philosophical puzzles of probability and rational decision theory.
PHIL2621 Truth, Meaning and Language

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 Junior credit points in Philosophy Assessment: 1x2500wd Essay (60%) and 1x2hr exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit covers central issues in contemporary philosophy of language, such as the relationship between language and the world, the nature of meaning and truth, problems involved in interpreting and understanding the speech of others, the role of context in determining meaning, and the nature of metaphor.
PHIL2622 Reality, Time and Possibility: Metaphysics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3662 Assessment: 1x1400wd Essay (33%), 1x2000wd Essay (45%) and 11 short multiple choice quizzes (22%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is a unit in metaphysics: the discipline that tells us about the nature of the world. The unit carries on from the Reality component of first year. We engage with questions like: What is time? What is space? What makes something a person? How much change can I undergo and still be me? Are objects four-dimensional space-time worms? Do the past or future exist, and could we travel to them? Are there numbers?
PHIL2623 Moral Psychology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2513 or PHIL3513 Assessment: 1x2500wd Essay (50%) and 1x2000wd Take-home exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
We go beyond the question of which actions are morally right to consider the following: How should we evaluate motives and emotions? Is anyone actually virtuous, or are we all weak-willed, self-deceived confabulators? Are any actions or persons evil? When should we feel guilty or ashamed? Should forgiveness be unconditional? Is morality the product of Darwinian natural selection, or of culture and learning? Is there any objective truth in morality, or are moral claims merely subjective or culturally relative?
PHIL2629 The Mind-Body Problem: From Descartes to Kant

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3004 or PHIL2004 Assessment: 3x500wd reading quizzes (30%), 1x1000wd presentation/discussion (25%), 1x500wd exercise "in your words" (15%), 1x1500wd project essay (30%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
How is it possible that thoughts materialise in actions? How can we explain that material processes in the brain result in conscious mental states? These questions have been discussed since Descartes and this unit of study examines how the mind-body problem came into existence. We will also look at Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche and Kant and the answers they developed to deal with this problem. This unit provides students with an interest in contemporary philosophy of mind with an ideal grounding.
PHIL2634 Democratic Theory

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: (12 Junior credit points in Philosophy) or (6 Junior credit points in Philosophy and ANHS1600) Prohibitions: PHIL2514 or PHIL3514 Assessment: presentation (10%), 1x2000wd Essay (45%) and 1x2000wd Take-home exam (45%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
A unit in normative political philosophy. The unit will examine ideas of democracy, as well as historical foundations of these ideas, and it will do so in order to address key issues in contemporary democratic theory, such as the tension between republican and liberal ideas, the relationship between justice and democracy, the challenges of social and cultural pluralism, the limits of democratic inclusion, and, importantly, the nature of political legitimacy and the challenge of a suitably inclusive justification of political principles.
PHIL2635 Political Philosophy

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Government and International Relations Prohibitions: PHIL2535 or PHIL3535 Assessment: 1x2000wd Essay (40%), 1x500wd tutorial paper (10%), 1x2000wd take-home exercise (40%), participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit offers a critical introduction to the major schools of thought in contemporary political philosophy organised around the theme of inclusion and exclusion. The inclusive ambitions of liberal political theory will be confronted with objections from thinkers motivated by concern with various aspects of social and political exclusion based on categories such as gender, cultural difference, and statelessness.
PHIL2640 Environmental Philosophy

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2240 Assessment: 1x1500wd assignment (30%), 1x3000wd essay (60%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit presents a variety of philosophical issues associated with the study and management of the natural environment. We will look at questions such as: what does it mean to live in harmony with the environment? what is sustainability? why should we preserve biodiversity? what is the best way to achieve conservation goals? what are ecological models and how do they work? and what is the proper relationship between environmental science and the values found in environmental policy and management?
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
PHIL2642 Critical Thinking

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level Assessment: 1x1500wd Essay (30%), 1xin-class test (20%) and 1x2hr exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
An introduction to critical thinking and analysis of argument. By examining arguments drawn from diverse sources, including journalism, advertising, science, medicine, history, economics and politics, we will learn how to distinguish good from bad arguments, and how to construct rationally persuasive arguments of our own. Along the way we will grapple with scepticism, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. The reasoning skills imparted by this unit make it invaluable not only for philosophy students but for every student at the University.
PHIL2643 Philosophy of Mind

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3213 or PHIL2205 or PHIL2213 or PHIL3643 Assessment: 1x2500wd Essay (60%) and 1x2000wd Take-home exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
An introduction to modern theories of the nature of mind, and some important contemporary issues in the philosophy of mind. Topics will include the problem of mental representation (how can minds think about the world?), the relationship of minds to brains, and the problem of consciousness.
PHIL2645 Philosophy of Law

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2510 or PHIL2604 or PHIL3510 Assessment: 1x2000wd essay (40%), 1x2000wd take-home exercise (40%), 4x125wd critical reflections (10%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit will analyse a range of theoretical and practical issues in the philosophy of law, both historical and contemporary. Issues addressed may include: legal obligation; punishment; legal responsibility; legal exclusion, including exclusion of race, gender, and class; citizenship; rule of law; legal pluralism; the nature of rights and duties; autonomy; and the relations between law and morality.
PHIL2646 Philosophy and Literature

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x2000wd essay (40%), 1x500wd tutorial paper (10%) and 1x2hr exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit addresses the 'ancient quarrel' between philosophy and literature. We will examine arguments about the importance of imagination and sympathy to moral judgement by putting various philosophical and literary texts in dialogue with each other.
PHIL2647 Philosophy of Happiness

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level Prohibitions: PHIL3647 Assessment: 2x 500wd Argument Analysis Exercise (20%), 1x2000wd Research essay (35%), 1x2000wd Take-home Exercise (35%), Tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
We all want to be happy and to live a worthwhile life. But what is happiness? Why should we want it? And how do we get it? These are among the most fundamental questions of philosophy. We will evaluate the answers of major thinkers from ancient and modern and eastern and western traditions; and consider the implications of current psychological research into the causes of happiness for the question of how to live well, as individuals and as a society.
PHIL2648 19th C. Philosophy: Kant to Nietzsche

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 Junior credit points in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2641 or PHIL3011 Assessment: 1x1000wd tutorial exercise (20%), 1x500wd essay outline (15%), 1x3000wd final essay (50%), tutorial participation (15%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit surveys the history of 19th Century philosophy, from Kant and idealism to Nietzsche and existentialism. The first half examines Kant's "Copernican revolution" in philosophy, and the critical responses to Kant's project in the work of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. The second half investigates the critique of idealism in the works of Kierkegaard, Dosteovsky and Nietzsche. Throughout, questions of science, morals and politics, art, education, and religion will be considered.
PHIL2655 Ethics

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3655 Assessment: 1x2000wd essay (40%), 1x2000wd take-home exercise (40%), 1x500wd oral presenation and summary (10%), tutorial presentation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit addresses philosophical issues concerning how we should live our lives. It surveys theories of which goals are good and which actions are right. Students will gain an overview of philosophical approaches to questions like: must we act for the greater good, or is it ok to show a special concern for our friends? Can we be justified in harming some people to help others? Can small benefits to many people justify imposing a great loss on a few? Is there an objective fact about what is morally right, or is morality subjective or relative?
PHIL2658 Philosophy in Film

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week, 1x film screening/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Film Studies Assessment: 1x500wd tutorial presentation (10%), 1x1500wd take-home assignment (30%), 1x2500wd essay (50%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit will use the screening and criticism of carefully chosen classical and contemporary films to raise important philosophical questions and to contribute to our response to them. Each film screening will be paired with a key philosophical question that is explored in the film and further investigated in class: problems of freedom, human action, democracy, crime, love, otherness, marriage, conversation, selfhood, and being human. The class will also explore some central questions in the philosophy of film.
PHIL2660 Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week and 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 junior credit points in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3012 or PHIL3612 Assessment: 1x500wd tutorial presentation (10%), 1x1500wd take-home assignment (30%), 1x2500wd essay (50%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
In this unit we will study the way in which the appeal to logical analysis in the context of Frege's new quantificational logic gave rise to Analytic Philosophy in the early 20th century. A central theme will be to explore the way in which questions of metaphysics and epistemology were transformed into questions about the logical form of language. We shall also explore the extent to which early analytic philosophy is a reaction against Kant and post-Kantian idealism by focusing on the writings of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein.
PHIL2661 Philosophy of Sex

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: (12 credit points at 1000-level in Philosophy) or (12 credit points at 1000-level in Gender and Cultural Studies) Assessment: 1x2500wd essay (50%) and 1x2hr exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This course addresses philosophical issues concerning sex. From the perspective of metaphysics, we will ask what sexual differences and relations are. From the perspective of moral and political philosophy, we will ask which sexual relationships and identities are ethically justifiable. Sample questions include: What is it to have a sexual identity? Is sexual difference innate or socially constructed? Is intoxicated sexual consent valid? Is there anything wrong with being a sex object? Is pornography problematic? Is bestiality ever ok?
PHIL2663 Justice

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3663 Assessment: 600wd editing assessments (5%), 600wd argument analysis assessment (15%), 600wd multiple-choice tests (20%), 1x1200wd Research essay (30%) and 1x1.5hr exam (30%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit examines ethical questions concerning social justice. It surveys influential theories of which institutions and social relationships are necessary for a just society. The unit provides students with an overview of views of freedom and equality. Finally, it critically reviews attempts to reconcile these apparently conflicting goals, e.g. as they pertain to questions like: Is taxation theft? Is private education inegalitarian? Are there moral limits to markets? Should we be free to engage in speech that undermines others' statuses?
PHIL2667 Scepticism: From Illusion to Reality

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2605 Assessment: 1x500wd lead a discussion (20%), 1x500wd reading exercise (20%), 1x2500wd research essay (35%), 1x1000wd scaffolded essay (25%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
What is the boundary between reality and illusion? Can we be certain that we do not just project our own feelings and thoughts onto reality? Can we know that we are not dreaming? This unit will address these questions by analysing sceptical arguments and theories of knowledge from antiquity to modernity. The unit is designed to introduce students to epistemological topics in the historical context, thereby offering the basis for further studies in contemporary epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
PHIL2672 Time and Space

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x1000wd essay 1 (20%), 1x1000wd essay 2 (20%), 1x1500wd essay 3 (40%), 1x1000wd take-home exercise (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Are time and space substances, or is there nothing more to them than the relations between objects or events? How is time different from space? Does time have a direction? If it does, what gives it its direction? If it doesn't, why does it seem to us that it does? Does space have a direction? This unit investigates the nature of time and space and objects (including persons) within space and time.
PHIL2674 Philosophy and Mythology

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
PHIL2675 Existentialism

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x1500wd mid-term essay (30%), 1x500wd tutorial presentation (10%), 1x2500wd final essay (50%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This course examines a major movement in 19th and 20th century European philosophy, and focuses on key questions and figures from the movement. Topics to be considered include: the possibility of morality after the death of God, meaning in human life, the self, freedom, finitude and historicity.
PHIL2677 How Biology Matters to Philosophy

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x1000wd report (20%), 1x1500wd essay (30%), 1x2000wd take-home exercise (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces students to debates in which contemporary philosophers appeal to biology. Claims about human nature, race, normality, innateness, and evolutionary design feature in arguments in epistemology, philosophy of mind and language, and ethics. Students will learn how to evaluate such efforts to base philosophical theories on biology.
PHIL2678 Introduction to Formal Philosophy

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in the Philosophy major Assessment: 7x130wd equivalent complex problem sets (35%), 2x800wd short essays (25%), 1x2hr (2000wd equivalent) exam (30%), participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The unit explores how philosophy interacts with and contributes to disciplines like logic, probability theory, statistics, and decision theory. Classic philosophical problems will be explored such as the character of proof and proofs, how we learn from experience, the nature of the mind and its mental events, and what it means for a society to be fair and just. Mathematical tools will be developed that help to articulate and tackle these problems. This unit is designed for philosophy majors interested in learning more about formal methods and for majors in scientific and mathematical fields interested in seeing how the methods of their fields can be applied to philosophical problems.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
GOVT2112 Modern Political Thought

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in Politics or International Relations or 12 credit points in Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Government and International Relations Assessment: 1x1500wd Mid-semester Take-home exercise (30%), 1x2500wd final Essay (60%) and Tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit considers key themes in modern and contemporary political thought. It uses primary texts to address topics such as sovereignty, democracy, fascism, liberalism, human rights, politics and religion, violence, and political identity. Authors may include Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Kant, Nietzsche, Marx, J.S. Mill, Tocqueville, Rawls, Arendt, Schmitt, and Foucault.

3000-level units of study

PHIL3605 Early Modern Theories of Perception

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/wk, 1x1hr tutorial/wk Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level from the Philosophy major Prohibitions: PHIL2605 Assessment: 1x2hr Final Exam (50%), 1x2000wd Essay (40%), 1x500wd Tutorial Assignment (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit examines theories of perception from Descartes to Reid. It comprises four main themes. First, early modern accounts of sense perception are discussed in tandem with developments in the science of optics and the understanding of visual perception. Second, perception as a faculty of the understanding, that is, mental perception, is studied in the writings of Locke and Condillac. Third, sense perception and mental perception are treated together in a detailed assessment of the Molyneux Problem from Leibniz and Berkeley to Diderot. And fourthly, the course examines the notions of a moral sense and an aesthetic sense in the writings of Hutcheson.
PHIL3608 Philosophy of Information

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in the Philosophy major Assessment: 1x2500wd Final essay (50%), 1x2000wd Mid-semester essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
In this unit we will explore the informational-turn in philosophy. We will investigate the nature of information itself, as well as information-based approaches to central philosophical issues across epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and semantics. We will also examine the role played by information in the sciences, as well as the socio-ethical impact of information-based technologies including web-based communication platforms, the impact of remote/autonomous systems such as drones and facial recognition on freedom and agency, data-as-labour vs data-as-capital, and the weaponisation of information itself.
PHIL3609 Philosophy of Logic

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in the Philosophy major Assessment: Participation 10 1x3000wd Essay 60 1x1500wd equivalent Logic Exercise 30 Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit will explore some of the fascinating philosophical issues arising from the study of formal logic. These include theory choice in logic, the relationships between various logics, the use of nonclassical logics in escaping paradox, and whether we need to be pluralist about logic.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
PHIL3610 Logic and Computation

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: PHIL1012 Prohibitions: PHIL2650 Assessment: 1x2hr final examination (50%), 10x250wd weekly problem sets (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit covers central topics and results concerning the nature of logic, the nature of computation, and the relationships between the two, such as Turing machines, computability and uncomputability, the undecidability of first order logic, computational complexity, and Godel's incompleteness theorems.
PHIL3611 Philosophy of Economics

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/wk, 1x1hr tutorial/wk Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy or Economics or Economic Policy Assessment: Participation (10%), 1x2500wd Take home exercise (50%), 1x2000wd Essay (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
We will explore questions at the intersection of economics and philosophy, such as: What is it to make rational decisions, and how well do we live up to the rational ideal? Does individual selfishness promote the common good? Are there things that should be kept out of the market? What should be the goals of economic policy? Is economics a science?
PHIL3613 Philosophy of Human Rights

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Politics or 12 credit points at 2000 level in International Relations Assessment: Tutorial participation (10%), 1x 2000 wds Midterm Essay (35%), 1x 2500 wds Final Essay (55%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit addresses central themes from the history and philosophy of human rights. Topics may include justifications for human rights, dangers and threats to human rights, the meaning and role of dignity, tensions between human rights and state sovereignty, as well as wider themes in political thought such as equality, liberty, and power. Thinkers may include Burke, Wollstonecraft, Paine, Marx, Arendt, Levi, Rawls, and Nussbaum.
PHIL3615 Contemporary Pragmatism

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3015 Assessment: 1x1000wd tutorial exercise (20%), 1x1000wd take-home exercise (30%), 1x2500wd essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit will explore the distinctive philosophical outlook known as "Pragmatism" which many see as a third way beyond the analytic-continental divide. After a brief survey of classical American Pragmatism (C.S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey) we will consider in depth neo-pragmatism (Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam), linguistic pragmatism (Robert Brandom, Huw Price), and methodological pragmatism (David Macarthur). Key issues will include realism, empiricism, naturalism, scientism, metaphysical quietism, the fact/value distinction, and the agent point of view in philosophy.
PHIL3617 Practical Ethics Advanced

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2617 Assessment: 1x1250wd Research essay (30%), 1x500wd Essay feedback to peers (5%), 1x1250wd revision of Research essay in response to feedback (30%) and 1x1.5hr exam (35%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is the advanced version of PHIL2617, with common lectures, but advanced readings and separate assessment. Students will apply advanced methods of contemporary moral philosophy to the understanding of practical ethics. They will evaluate approaches to pressing questions concerning euthanasia, abortion, surrogacy, censorship, animal rights, genetic testing and cloning and the environment. Students will learn how to apply their understanding of practical ethical issues to extant ethical dilemmas, and, more crucially, new ones that arise in their personal and professional lives.
PHIL3639 Hellenistic Philosophy

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2hr lecture and 1hr tutorial per week. Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3023 or PHIL3039 Assessment: Essay and exam. Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This course will cover the period from the death of Aristotle up to the beginnings of Christian philosophy. It is designed to give a comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of the Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics. Approximately half the course will be devoted to questions in Hellenistic metaphysics, epistemology and logic. The other half of the course will be devoted to Hellenistic ethics and psychology.
PHIL3640 Nature and Crisis

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level and 12 credit points at 2000 level in the Philosophy major Assessment: 1x1000wd group project (30%), participation (10%), 1x2000wd journal/reflections (10%), 1x3000wd final essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
While the environmental crisis is a physical crisis--a crisis of extinction, pollution, drastic weather patterns, and climate change--it is also a crisis of reason: a crisis that challenges our usual ways of thinking and demands significant changes in the ways we act and behave. The aims of this unit are to investigate the philosophical origins of the environmental crisis, and develop alternative models of thinking and acting. In addition, we will analyse key philosophical concepts (including nature, culture, self, society, and responsibility), explore the possibility of an ethics beyond the human, and investigate new conceptions of agency, responsibility and multi-species justice.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
PHIL3643 Philosophy of Mind Advanced

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL3213 or PHIL2205 or PHIL2213 or PHIL2643 Assessment: 1x1500wd essay (30%), 1x2500wd essay (50%), 10xweekly tests (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is an advanced Philosophy of Mind course which has common lectures with PHIL2643 but different assessments and tutorials. It will cover the latest research on metaphysics of mind, and the theory of the content of mental states - how it is that mental stages get to be 'about' the world. It deals with similar issues as PHIL2643 but at a more advanced level, with reading from contemporary journal articles and research-based Essays as the principal assessment.
PHIL3651 Emotions and Embodied Cognition

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2651 Assessment: 1x2000wd Research Project (50%), 1x1000wd Group Presentation (20%), 1x Applied Methods Assignment (30%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Students will apply advanced philosophical methods to the understanding of the passions. Students will analyse the most influential theories, historical and contemporary, about how passions function in society. They will evaluate how passions have reflected and interacted with the predominant culture since the early-modern era. Students will learn how to apply their understanding of the passions to the social and political challenges of today.
PHIL3655 Ethics (Advanced)

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2655 Assessment: 1x2000wd advanced research essay (40%), 1x2000wd take-home exercise (40%), 1x500wd research presentation (10%), tutorial presentation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is the advanced version of PHIL2655, with separate tutorials and assessment. Students will apply advanced philosophical methods to issues concerning how we should live our lives. This unit surveys theories of which goals are good and which actions are right. Must we act for the greater good, or is it ok to show a special concern for our friends? Can we be justified in harming some people to help others? Can small benefits to many people justify imposing a great loss on a few? Is there an objective fact about what is morally right, or is morality subjective or relative?
PHIL3662 Reality Time and Possibility M'physics Adv

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2622 Assessment: 1x1475wd Essay (33%), 1x2000wd Essay (45%) and 12 quizzes (22%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit is an advanced version of PHIL2622. It explores the relationship between space, time and modality. It asks the questions: What is time? What is space? How do objects exist through time? Could our world have been other than it is? What sorts of things are persons? Is it possible to travel backwards in time? Is our world ultimately composed of fundamental simple objects? The course provides a general background in analytic metaphysics.
PHIL3677 Philosophy of Medicine

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x 1000 Assignment (20%), 1x 1500 Assignment (30%), 1x 2000 Essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit examines the much-disputed distinction between the normal and the pathological, drawing on work from both continental and analytic traditions, from Georges Canguilhem and Michel Foucault to Ruth Millikan and Karen Neander. Related topics include: are illness or disability intrinsically harmful? What is the relationship between illness and personal identity? Is health more than the absence of disease? Note: Students should be aware that this is not a unit in clinical bioethics.
PHIL3681 Aesthetics and Art Advanced

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week and 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in Philosophy Prohibitions: PHIL2518 or PHIL2618 Assessment: 1x500wd tutorial presentation (20%), 1x4000wd essay (70%) and tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is the advanced version of PHIL2681, with common lectures, but separate tutorials and assessment. In this unit we will explore the idea that a work of art is best thought of on the model of intentional action. By considering examples of painting, sculpture, literature, conceptual art, film and photography we will consider questions of artifactuality, artistic intentionality, interpretation, and objecthood. A guiding theme will be the challenge to a demanding conception of art posed by various forms of skepticism about art including relativism, physicalism, and a modern scientific-minded cynicism about non-scientific understanding.
PHIL3682 Romanticism

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12cp at 2000 level in Philosophy Assessment: 1x1500wd mid-term essay (30%), 1x2500wd research (final) essay (50%), 1x500wd tutorial presentation (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This course examines the development of a major movement in 19th century philosophy: Romanticism. Topics to be considered include: the relation between art, nature and scientific knowledge, the meaning of human freedom, scepticism and the idea of a 'system' of knowledge.
GOVT3664 Key Concepts in Political Thought

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week. Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in International Relations or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Politics or 12 senior credit points from Government and International Relations Prohibitions: GOVT2616 Assessment: 1x 2000wd Major Essay (40%), 1x 750wd Learning Diary (10%), 1x 2hr Final Exam (40%), 1x Tutorial Partcipation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
What enables us as political animals to live together in political communities? This unit examines key concepts underpinning our contemporary political life handed down to us through centuries of political thought; from the Athenian city-state to contemporary reflections on identity. Some of the concepts and problematiques explored may include: the state; sovereignty; the political; liberty; property; the citizen vs. the subject, reasons vs. the passions.

Interdisciplinary Project units of study

If you are completing two majors and both of your majors are from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, please select the Interdisciplinary Impact unit of study for your first major, and the Industry and Community Project unit of study for your second major.
If you are completing two majors but only one of your majors is from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, please select the Interdisciplinary Impact unit of study for that major.
If you are completing one major only and that major is from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, please select the Interdisciplinary Impact unit of study for your major.
PHIL3999 Interdisciplinary Impact

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Intensive December,Semester 1,Semester 2 Prerequisites: Completion of at least 90 credit points Prohibitions: Interdisciplinary Impact in another major Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolmentin the following sessions:Intensive December
Interdisciplinarity is a key skill in fostering agility in life and work. This unit provides learning experiences that build students' skills, knowledge and understanding of the application of their disciplinary background to interdisciplinary contexts. In this unit, students will work in teams and develop interdisciplinarity skills through problem-based learning projects responding to 'real world problems'.
PHIL3998 Industry and Community Project

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Intensive February,Intensive July,Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Corequisites: Interdisciplinary Impact in any major. Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This interdisciplinary unit provides students with the opportunity to address complex problems identified by industry, community, and government organisations, and gain valuable experience in working across disciplinary boundaries. In collaboration with a major industry partner and an academic lead, students integrate their academic skills and knowledge by working in teams with students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds. This experience allows students to research, analyse and present solutions to a real¿world problem, and to build on their interpersonal and transferable skills by engaging with and learning from industry experts and presenting their ideas and solutions to the industry partner.