Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 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

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhilosophy
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr John Thrasher


Previously coded PHL3510


This unit aims to give students with a background in philosophy or politics a strong foundation in political philosophy. The central question of the unit is: what makes a society just or unjust? The first part of the course examines this question from the perspective of mainstream economics and of liberal political thought. The second part of the course looks at some important critiques of liberalism, focusing especially on underlying beliefs about the concepts of freedom and desert. In the final part of the course we use the ideas introduced earlier in semester to analyse the topic of justice in crime and punishment.


Students successfully completing this subject will have an understanding of current debates over political concepts such as justice, freedom and equality. Students will be able to apply their understanding of these debates to practical issues, such as inter-cultural tolerance in a pluralistic society, taxation for redistributive purposes, law and order debates, and more.

Students at third year level will also have developed skills in independent research in political philosophy; a deeper and more thorough understanding of the issues covered in the unit; and a familiarity with a wider range of literature in political philosophy.


Written work: 80%
Test: 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

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

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


Two gateways in philosophy, or politics, or first-year sequence in bioethics, or ATS1314