Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhilosophy
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2013 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Robert Simpson


Previously coded HRY1020


This unit investigates a number of current debates that involve human rights that have implications for recent political controversies. For instance: do cultural and religious minorities have special claims to group rights? Can group rights be reconciled with the individualist basis of human rights-thinking? Do the expanding rights of children conflict with the rights of parents to exercise parental authority? Does human rights-discourse create a culture of litigiousness and selfishness? If we ascribe rights to groups to maintain the existence of their culture, does this conflict with our duties to receive refugees?


Students successfully completing this subject should have developed:

  1. Mastery of the content of several key controversies surrounding human rights.
  2. Improved writing skills.
  3. Improved oral communication skills.
  4. Familiarity with central positions in philosophical accounts of the justification and explanation of human rights.
  5. Skills to assist them to conduct independent research in human rights topics.


Written work (3,500 words): 70%
Examination (1 hour): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


ATS1314 is not required but strongly recommended.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: