Thinking deeply about what it is like to be human

This unit introduces you to philosophical reflection concerning what it is to be a human being. You will examine key concepts, theories and debates relating to a range of important themes in this area, such as the nature of the 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 and sexuality; considerations about the meaning of life; and the implications of human finitude and mortality.

The unit aims to develop your understanding of key philosophical concepts and theories that allow you to reflect on your beliefs and assumptions, and to engage with the views of others. It also looks to enhance your skills in critical reflection on experience, the analysis of arguments, and the formulation and communication of coherent positions of your own.

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

  1. identify and demonstrate comprehension of some of the central problems and important theories concerning human nature and personhood (GA5)
  2. 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)
  3. 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).

You should have developed your ability to achieve the following ACU 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.

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