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Philosophy and ethics - South Africa

Undergraduate

Minor

Major

Commencement year

This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2018 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook.

Any units listed for this area of study relate only to the ‘Requirements’ outlined in the Faculty of Arts of any bachelors double degrees.

Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.

Managing faculty

Faculty of Arts

Description

Philosophy and ethics is the study of fundamental ideas about the world we live in. It questions the nature of our world, asks what would constitute a good life in such a world, and asks what could be done to make it better. Students will be introduced to areas central to philosophy including:

  • Metaphysics – the study of what sorts of things exist in the world, and how they are related: for instance, whether there is a mind or soul and if so, how it is related to the body.
  • Epistemology – the study of what constitutes knowledge of the world, and of what methods can be used to obtain it.
  • Ethics and aesthetics – what is the nature of the good and the beautiful, and how may such value judgements be justified.
  • Political philosophy – the principles that underlie the structure of a just society.
  • Philosophy of language – the notions of meaning, truth and linguistic understanding.
  • Philosophy of mind – the relationship between consciousness and physical reality.
  • Logic – the theory of reasoning. Logicians study what makes for a good argument or inference, and try to identify underlying structural features of argumentation.

Philosophy provides skills in reasoning and argument that are applicable in a wide variety of professions, as well as the opportunity to engage in a reflective appraisal of our place in the universe.

Availability

Philosophy and ethics is offered in the Bachelor of Social Science at Monash South Africa as a major or minor.

Outcomes

In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major will be able to:

  1. understand a range of important ideas, in the history of philosophy, in contemporary philosophy, or both
  2. have highly developed skills in philosophical writing. This encompasses expertise in constructing and evaluating arguments, making creative use of thought experiments, analysing complex ideas, and providing sharp definitions of concepts.

Units

Minor requirements (24 points)

No more than 12 points at level 1 may be credited towards the minor.

Students complete:

  1. Two level 1 gateway units (12 points):
    • AZA1264 Ethics and biotechnology
    • AZA1371 Introduction to philosophy: Moral dilemmas and philosophy
  2. Two additional units (12 points) from those listed under (b) in the major. It is highly recommended that students complete a level 2 unit before enrolling in a level 3 unit.

Major requirements (48 points)

No more than 12 points at level 1 may be credited to a major and at least 18 points must be credited to the major at level 3.

Students complete:

  1. Two level 1 gateway units (12 points):
    • AZA1264 Ethics and biotechnology
    • AZA1371 Introduction to philosophy: Moral dilemmas and philosophy
  2. Two level 2 units (12 points) chosen from:
    • AZA2549 Poverty and power: The uneven world
    • AZA2719 Theoretical perspectives in political and social thought
    • AZA2939 Ethics and the modern world*

    * Students intending to do honours in philosophy are required to complete this unit.

  3. Four level 3 units (24 points) chosen from:
    • AZA3640 Philosophy of war and global conflict*
    • AZA3644 South Africa: Democracy and development
    • AZA3869 Political philosophy and justice*
    • AZA3871 Environmentalism: A philosophical perspective*

    * Students intending to do honours in philosophy are required to complete this unit.

Coordinator

Mr Charles Villet; charles.villet@monash.edu

Relevant courses

Successful completion of the minor or major can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the following single degree:*

  • 4086 Bachelor of Social Science

Students in other single bachelor’s degrees may be eligible to complete the minor or major by using 24 or 48 points of their free electives.

* Students cannot complete both the minor and major in the same area of study.

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