Faculty of Arts

Monash University

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 UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedSouth Africa First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Leon Marincowitz


The unit adopts a global perspective but looks at issues through a South African and African lens. We examine questions such as: When, if ever, is warfare justified? What about humanitarian intervention? What about violent revolution and terrorism? Why should civilians be protected in conflict? These issues are linked to the situation in Africa, with particular reference to some of the vexing dilemmas encountered within this context, such as terrorism, dictatorships and civil war.This unit will introduce students to theoretical approaches to the ethics of conflict that will allow them to answer these difficult questions. It will also serve to introduce students to basic ideas in moral and political philosophy. No background in philosophy is required: merely an interest in rational argument applied to global conflict.


Students successfully completing the unit at 2-level will:

  1. be able to explain the central ideas of just war theory;
  2. be able to explain leading criticisms of just war theory;
  3. have developed the ability to apply philosophical theories of justice in conflict to actual cases from recent history;
  4. be able to develop and critically assess arguments about the justification of violence in the pursuit of political ends;
  5. be able to critically assess the situation in Africa and its accompanying political dilemmas as it relates to issues of violence and justice.


Written work: 65% (3000 words)
Tutorial Participation: 10%
Test: 25%
1. Short Assignment: 500 words (10 %)
2. Essay Plan: 500 words (10%)
3. Essay: 2000 words (45%)
4. Tutorial Presentation (5%)
5. Tutorial Attendance (5%)
6. Test: 1100 words(25%)

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

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

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