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Unit of study_

PHIL1013: Society, Knowledge and Self

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

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.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHIL1013
Academic unit Philosophy
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ryan Cox,
Lecturer(s) Kristie Miller,
Luara Ferracioli,
Ryan Cox,
Tutor(s) Hasti Lukic,
Lilia Anderson,
Wendy Xin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Final Essays
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 18 Nov 2022 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO1
Assignment Essay outline
10% Week 05
Due date: 02 Sep 2022 at 23:59
500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Essay
30% Week 08
Due date: 23 Sep 2022 at 23:59
1750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small test Online quizzes
10% Weekly 250wd equiv
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO3

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 What is Knowledge? Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Is Knowledge Justified True Belief? Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 02 How Can We Know About What We Have Not Observed (Part I) Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
How Can We Know About What We Have Not Observed? (Part II) Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 How Can You Know The Mind of Another Person? Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
How Can You Know Your Own Mind? Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 How Can We Know About the External World? (Part I) Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
How Can We Know About the External World? (Part II) Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Joint Lecture on Knowledge and Self Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Prudence and the Self Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 The Self: Doing Without Souls Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Does Identity Ground Prudence? Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Does Something Else Ground Prudence? Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Psychological Continuity and Personal Identity Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Perdurantism and Prudence Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
The Self and Well-Being Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 The Rationality of Time Bias Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Joint Lecture on Self and Society Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Political Legitimacy Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Anarchism, Social Contract Theory, and (Un)Civil Disobedience Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 On Democracy Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
The Liberal Orthodoxy Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Critiques of the Liberal Model Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
On Oppression Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Liberalism and the Family Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
On Free Speech and its Limits Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements


  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate improved skills in critical thinking and the clear expression of your views both orally and in writing
  • LO2. demonstrate ability to analyse and evaluate philosophical arguments
  • LO3. demonstrate understanding of key texts in political philosophy, epistemology, and the theory of personal identity
  • LO4. critically evaluate theories about the state, knowledge, and the self

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.