Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit



Dr John Thrasher (Day); Dr Sam Butchart (Flexible)



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)
  • Second semester 2016 (Flexible)
  • Summer semester A 2016 (Flexible)


The unit may be offered as part of the Summer Arts ProgramSummer Arts Program (http://www.monash.edu/students/courses/arts/summer-program.html).


The overarching aim of this unit is to give students a strong foundation in political philosophy. The unit focuses on three principal questions: How are political institutions justified? How should wealth and income be distributed in the just state? And when is it justified to punish someone for violating a state's laws? Students will be introduced to central attempts to answer these questions, using both classical and contemporary authors.


On successful completion of the unit, students will have:

  1. mastered fundamental concepts in political philosophy;
  2. acquired familiarity the methodology of political philosophy and how political philosophy relates to other branches of philosophy;
  3. be able to identify relevant literature for the purposes of scholarly work on political philosophy;
  4. improved written and oral communication skills;
  5. undertaken independent research and reading in completing the assignments.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


A cornerstone unit in Philosophy.


ATS2869, AZA2869, AZA3869