Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10cp from PHIL100 Philosophy: the Big Questions or, PHIL102 Theories of Human Nature or, PHIL104 Introduction to Ethics or PHIL107 Philosophy of World Religions or PHCC102 Being Human or PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is a unit in philosophical and applied aesthetics, with a particular focus on film. It is concerned both with the nature of aesthetic experience and the arts, as well as the way in which film (and other modes of artistic expression) shape or reflect experience, structure perception, and reveal important truths about human life and its larger context. In exploring influential perspectives regarding those debates, students are required to develop reasoned positions of their own. In this way, the unit aims both to facilitate students' understanding of some key theories and debates in the philosophy of religion, as well as to enhance their skills in critical analysis.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

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

LO1 - identify and accurately explain some of the central problems and important theories in philosophical aesthetics, and their application to film (and other modes of artistic expression) (GA5); 

LO2 - critically analyse selected contemporary debates in aesthetics and philosophy of film and the arts, and develop coherent and consistent positions in relation to them (GA4; GA8); 

LO3 - demonstrate appropriate skills in philosophical research, and clear use of philosophically effective English expression (GA5; GA9). 

Graduate attributes

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 


Topics will include:

  • the nature of aesthetic experience; 
  • theories of the nature of art; 
  • beauty, sublimity, and art; 
  • film as shaping and/or reflecting aesthetic experience
  • filmic techniques as structuring perception 

In addition, topics such as the following may also be included: 

  • the arts as philosophy
  • the value and meaning of art;
  • the relationship of art to morality, politics and religion.
  • film as rendering the invisible, visible.
  • genres of art and their significance;
  • artistic vision and truth.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

The unit has been designed as a blend of project learning along with direct instruction within a collaborative context. The direct instruction ensures that students develop a grounding in understanding basic problems, concepts and arguments in philosophical aesthetics, film and the arts (LO1). The project learning enables the students to apply those concepts and theories critically and reflectively to problems in the field, and this feeds into the achievement of the other aim of the unit concerning the development of philosophical skills of analysis, interpretation and argumentation (LO 2-3). The collaborative context of the unit is focused especially on the weekly tutorial, during which the emphasis is on small group discussion of the weekly readings. Students engage in class discussions, provide written critiques of significant theories, and present their reasoned position on matters at issue, after being introduced to them through readings and lectures.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit has been designed to examine students’ understanding of the philosophical issues and theories under consideration, as well as their ability to critically analyse those issues and theories. It does so through a series of three graduated assessment tasks. The first two tasks prepare students for the third and principal task of writing an extended research essay. The two structured written tasks require students to demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts and theories, and increasingly to engage critically with some key texts in the field. The research essay requires students to research an area of the unit in further detail, and to develop and defend a coherent position of their own in a formally structured argumentative essay. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Structured written task 1

Requires students to demonstrate understanding of key concepts and analyse key text/s in the philosophy of religion 




Structured written task 2

Requires students to critically analyse key text/s in the philosophy of religion


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA8

Research Essay

Requires students to further research and analyse an important issue in the philosophy of religion, and argue for a coherent position.  


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bazin, André. (2005). What Is Cinema? Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. 

Cazeaux, C. (ed). (2011). The Continental Aesthetics Reader. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. 

Cooper, D. Ed. (1998). Aesthetics: The Classical Readings. Oxford: Blackwell. 

Howes, G. (2007). The Art of the Sacred: An Introduction to the Aesthetics of Art and Belief. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Hughes, F. (2010). Kant's Critique of Aesthetic Judgment: A Reader's Guide. London: New York: Continuum. 

Kieran, M. Ed. (2005). Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art. Oxford: Blackwell. 

Livingston, P and Plantinga, C. (2011). The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. London: Routledge. 

Murray, P. & Dorsch, T. (eds). (2000), Classical Literary Criticism. London: Penguin Books. 

Read, R. Goodenough, J. (eds). (2005). Film as Philosophy: Essays on Cinema after Wittgenstein and Cavell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Scruton, R. (2009). Understanding Music: Philosophy and Interpretation. London: Continuum. 

Zettl, H. (2011). Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics. 6th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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