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Unit of study_

PHIL2635: Political Philosophy

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.


Academic unit Philosophy
Unit code PHIL2635
Unit name Political Philosophy
Session, year
Semester 2, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

PHIL2535 or PHIL3535
12 credit points at 1000 level in Philosophy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Government and International Relations
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Ryan Cox,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Second Essay
50% STUVAC 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment First Essay
30% Week 09
Due date: 09 Oct 2022 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Weekly Reflections
Weekly reflections on the readings, lectures and tutorials.
20% Weekly 10x50 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3

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

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.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, 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 dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

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

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 What is Political Philosophy? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 02 Political Legitimacy Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Political Legitimacy Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 03 Justice: Utilitarianism and Rawlsian Contractarianism Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Justice: Utilitarianism and Rawlsian Contractarianism Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 04 Justice: Libertarianism and Egalitarianism Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Justice: Libertarianism and Egalitarianism Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 The Idea of Equality Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
The Idea of Equality Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Liberty and Liberalism Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Liberty and Liberalism Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Liberal Democracy and the Alternatives Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Liberal Democracy and the Alternatives Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 For and Against Democracy Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
For and Against Democracy Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 09 Feminist Critiques of Liberalism Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Feminist Critiques of Liberalism Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 10 The Ethics of Markets Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
The Ethics of Markets Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Immigration and Borders Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Immigration and Borders Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Educational Justice Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Educational Justice Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 13 Indigenous Rights Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Indigenous Rights Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • 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

See the Canvas site for the unit.

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 and understanding of the central concepts of normative political theory including legitimacy, justice, equality, liberty, and democracy
  • LO2. apply the central concepts of normative political theory to contemporary political issues including gender equality, markets, immigration and borders, educational justice, and indigenous rights.
  • LO3. demonstrate a capacity for independent and critical thinking on both theoretical and applied issues in normative philosophy philosophy

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 unit is running for the first time with the current schedule of topics and assessments.


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