ATS2868 - Anarchy, property, and the state - 2019

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


Chief examiner(s)

Professor Robert Sparrow


Professor Robert Sparrow

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.




The unit will discuss the normative foundations of the state and of the institution of private property. What is the proper role of government? Why should we obey the law? What is the relation between property and liberty? When, if ever, is the government justified in redistributing property? These issues will be discussed mainly in the light of the work of classical thinkers, but some reference will also be made to contemporary political philosophers.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. explain the various suggested normative foundations of the state and of property rights;
  2. critically evaluate arguments made for and against the justification of the state; and,
  3. critically evaluate arguments made for and against the justification of private property.


Within semester assessment: 70% + Exam: 30%

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

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