PHILO215-21B (HAM)

Moral and Political Philosophy: A Historical Introduction

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Philosophy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: monique.mulder@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)

Tutor(s)

Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)

Librarian(s)

: anne.ferrier-watson@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
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Paper Description

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This paper gives students the opportunity to study three classical texts in Moral and Political Philosophy: Plato's Republic and J.S. Mill's Utilitarianism and On Liberty. We consider questions such as:

  • What is virtue? How do we become virtuous? Why should we be good? Does it benefit me to be virtuous?
  • What is (true) happiness? Is happiness merely subjective? Is there a link between virtue and happiness?
  • What is art? Do artists play an important role in society? Should artists be censored?
  • What is justice? Is democracy the best form of government? What is the proper role of the state?
  • Why do we value freedom? What does it mean to be (truly) free? Should the state interfere with individual freedom for the sake of the public good? How much freedom should people have?
  • Should everyone have equality of opportunity? Should society be organised around individual merit? Should everyone have equal rights?
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Paper Structure

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The first 6 weeks of the paper will be devoted to Plato's Republic, and the second 6 weeks will be on Mill.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • To think critically about moral and political issues
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  • To show familiarity with and understanding of the important arguments of the historical texts
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  • To construct and defend original arguments addressing central questions in moral and political philosophy
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  • To reflect on the differences and similarities between key historical approaches to moral and political questions, and contemporary ones
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  • To communicate information, arguments and analyses effectively, both orally and in writing
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Assessment

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Participation
15
  • Other: Workshop or Moodle forum
2. Weekly quizzes
20
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Plato essay plan
9 Aug 2021
11:00 PM
10
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Plato Essay
3 Sep 2021
11:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Mill essay
22 Oct 2021
11:00 PM
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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The required texts for this course are:

Plato’s Republic. Any reputable edition of the Republic will do, but some translations are better than others. Recommendations include translations by Grube & Reeve (Hackett), Bloom, Lindsay, Lee, Cornford. You need one with Stephanos page references in the margin. (They look like this: "576b".)

J.S. Mill, Utilitarianism. Any edition. As it is no longer under copyright the full text is freely available online.

J.S. Mill, On Liberty. Any edition. As it is no longer under copyright the full text is freely available online.

Further readings are available through the Waikato Reading List for this paper, and additional readings will be made available on Moodle.

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Online Support

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Moodle will be used for all assessment, and for announcements. Please consult the Moodle page regularly. Office hours are available through zoom if you are off campus.
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Workload

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The expected workload for the paper is 10-12 hours a week. That includes attending lectures, completing quizzes, studying the required reading, participating in the workshop or forums, and preparing for essays.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: PHIL215

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