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One second year level unit in philosophy

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 third-year fully-taught unit examines a specific philosophical theme/s or problem/s, philosopher/s or school/s of thought in one of the following fields: metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophical anthropology or the philosophy of religion. The specific topic will be chosen by the staff member or visiting lecturer in consultation with the Head of School and will be announced in the semester prior to its offering. In exploring the important concepts, theories and debates that emerge from the chosen historical study, as well as the contemporary scholarship on them, students are encouraged and enabled to develop reasoned interpretations of their own. In this way, the unit aims both to facilitate students' understanding of some key theories and debates in the history of philosophy, 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 - demonstrate critical understanding of some of the central problems and important theories in the field of study being addressed in the unit (GA5)

LO2 - critically analyse and evaluate selected philosophical debates and key texts in the field, and develop sustained arguments in relation to them (GA4; GA8)

LO3 - demonstrate developed skills in philosophical research, and proficient 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 


The unit topic and contents will be chosen by the lecturer in charge, in consultation with the Head of School.  

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 a blend of collaborative learning and project-based learning approaches, combined with direct instruction to introduce and draw out new and unfamiliar concepts and theories. 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. The project-based aspect relates to the research project on which students work throughout the second half of the unit, culminating in their research essay.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit is designed to facilitate broad engagement across the topics covered, while also requiring deeper engagement with one of the unit topics in particular. The tutorial presentation and accompanying short written task requires students to demonstrate skills in attentive and accurate reading of a key text, and to explicate it in clear and concise oral and written formats. The extended written task that follows requires students to explicate and analyse another text at greater length, and to apply this to a pertinent philosophical issue. Finally, the research essay task provides students with the opportunity to undertake sustained philosophical reading and research, culminating in an extended piece of formal writing that examines their capacity to develop a coherent argument in response to an important philosophical question. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Tutorial oral and associated short written task   

Requires students to demonstrate skills in written and spoken exposition and analysis of a text.  




Extended written task 

Requires students to demonstrate skills in textual analysis and application.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA8

Research Essay 

Requires students to demonstrate a developed knowledge base, and skills in research and argument development. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

A list of key texts and recommended and further reading will be provided by the lecturer in charge, in line with the topics to be studied, in the semester prior to the unit being offered.   

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