Year

2021

Credit points

10

Prerequisites

Nil

Incompatible

UNCC100 Self and Community: Exploring the Anatomy of Modern Society , PHIL102 Theories of Human Nature , PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, and will be offered in both semester attendance mode, and intensive mode. Different modes are required in order to provide all students with the opportunity to satisfy their Core Curriculum requirements in the context of a diverse range of course structures across the University. Semester attendance mode allows students to develop their understanding and engagements across an extended period, while intensive mode offers a more concentrated experience with students completing readings and activities in LEO during and shortly after extended class meetings.

Unit description and aim

This unit, which is part of ACU’s Core Curriculum, introduces students to philosophical reflection concerning what it is to be a human being. Students examine key concepts, theories and debates relating to a range of important themes in this area, such as the nature of mind and its relation to the body; the basis of personal identity and the ’self’; the relationship between rationality and emotion; the meaning and extent of personal freedom; the inter–personal nature of being human; the significance of gender & sexuality; considerations about the meaning of life; and the implications of human finitude and mortality. The unit aims to assist students to develop an understanding of key philosophical concepts and theories that allow them to reflect on their beliefs and assumptions, and to engage with the views of others. It also looks to enhance students’ skills in critical reflection on experience, the analysis of arguments, and the formulation and communication of coherent positions of their own.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - identify and demonstrate comprehension of some of the central problems and important theories concerning human nature and personhood (GA5);

LO2 - analyse and review key debates in philosophical anthropology, noting the ways in which the complexity, dignity and diversity of the human condition has been understood, and develop consistent positions in relation to them (GA1; GA4; GA8);

LO3 - demonstrate beginning skills in the clear, well-structured and well-referenced presentation of a philosophical argument, in formal oral and/or written contexts (GA5; GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

Content

Topics will include:

  • Theories of mind, body and soul;
  • Understandings of personal identity and the ‘self’;
  • The social nature of being human, and the common good;
  • The meaning and extent of personal freedom;
  • The relationship between reason, emotion and knowledge;
  • The meaning of gender and sexuality
  • The human quest for meaning, value, and fulfilment;
  • The implications of human finitude & mortality.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, and will be offered in both semester attendance mode, and intensive mode. Different modes are required in order to provide all students with the opportunity to satisfy their Core Curriculum requirements in the context of a diverse range of course structures across the University. Semester attendance mode allows students to develop their understanding and engagements across an extended period, while intensive mode offers a more concentrated experience with students completing readings and activities in LEO during and shortly after extended class meetings. 

When offered in semester attendance mode, the unit has been designed as a blend of collaborative learning and project-based learning approaches, combined with some direct instruction to ensure that unfamiliar concepts and theories are understood. The collaborative learning aspect emerges most strongly in the interactive oral presentations and debates by students in class and which emerge out of peer learning and presentation contexts . The project-based aspect relates to the research project that students will engage in throughout the second half of the unit, culminating in their research essay.  

When offered in intensive mode, the unit will similarly utilise a blend of collaborative learning and project-based learning approaches, combined with direct instruction. The collaborative learning aspect emerges most strongly in the class or LEO forum-based interactions and which require students to enter into critical engagement with each other in thinking through key problems in the field. The project-based aspect relates to the research project that students will engage in throughout the second half of the unit, culminating in their research essay.     

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this introductory unit in philosophy is designed to facilitate broad engagement with what for many students will be a new field of study, while also making possible deeper engagement with one of the unit topics. For both modes of delivery, the early structured analysis task serves to build both a knowledge base and skills needed for effective philosophical analysis. The oral presentation/debate task (in semester attendance mode) or the class or LEO forum-based interactions (in intensive mode) are designed to facilitate collaborative learning and the presentation of coherent and carefully structured arguments in dialogue with others. The research essay task (both modes) provides students with the opportunity to undertake sustained philosophical reading and research, culminating in an extended piece of formal writing that develops a coherent central argument.    

Overview of assessments

Semester attendance mode;

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Structured written analysis task

(Requires students to demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and debates)

20%

LO1

GA5

Collaborative oral presentation with written component

(Requires students to demonstrate critical thinking skills in dialogue with others)

30%

LO1; LO2; LO3

GA1; GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9

Research Essay

(Requires students to analyse an important philosophical issue, and argue for a coherent position)

50%

LO1; LO2; LO3

GA1; GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9.

Intensive mode

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Structured written analysis task

(Requires students to demonstrate understanding of key concepts and debates)

20%

LO1

GA5

Structured responses to philosophical texts, and statement of position, on topic of the research essay   

(Requires students to demonstrate critical thinking skills, building toward a coherent position on an important philosophical issue)  

30%

LO1; LO2; LO3

GA1; GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9 

Research Essay

(Requires students to analyse an important philosophical issue, and to argue for a coherent position)

50%

LO1; LO2; LO3

GA1; GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9

Representative texts and references

Aristotle (1986). On the Soul. Hugh Lawson-Tancred (transl). London: Penguin.

Cowburn, J. (2008). Free Will, Predestination, and Determinism. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.

Gallagher, S (ed). (2011) The Oxford Handbook of the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kupperman, J. J. (2010). Theories of Human Nature. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

Mandik, P. (2014). This is Philosophy of Mind: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Nicholson, S.E and Fisher, V.D., (2014). Integral Voices on Sex, Gender, and Sexuality:

Critical Inquiries. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Pojman, L.P. (2006). Who Are We?: Theories of Human Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Macquarrie, John. (1982) In Search of Humanity. London: SCM Press.

Seachris, J, et al (eds). (2012). Exploring the Meaning of Life: An Anthology and Guide.

Wiley-Blackwell. Solomon, R. (1993). The Passions: Emotions and the Meaning of Life. Indianapolis: Hackett.

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