Undergraduate Study

Undergraduate Study

Philosophy at UOW offers the following undergraduate programmes of study.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) – Philosophy
http://coursefinder.uow.edu.au/information/index.html?course=bachelor-arts-philosophy

Philosophy Major – A Major in BA Philosophy requires at least 48 credit points of study from the Philosophy schedule, including all core subjects – PHIL107; PHIL218; PHIL219; and PHIL3??; with an additional 12 credit points of study at 200-level and 12 credit points of study at 300-level.

Philosophy Minor – A minor in BA Philosophy requires at least 24 credit points of study from the Philosophy schedule. At least 12 credit points of study must be at 200 level or higher. Alternatives to Core subjects must be chosen if the Philosophy Minor is taken in conjunction with a Philosophy Major.

Philosophy of Psychology Minor – A minor in BA Philosophy of Psychology requires at least 30 credit points of study from Philosophy schedule, including PHIL107 (or a 100-level equivalent if PHL107 is taken as part of a Philosophy Major); PHIL227; PHIL234; and either PHIL318 or PHIL3XX.

Ethics Minor – A minor in BA Philosophy requires at least 24 credit points of of study from the Philosophy schedule, including PHIL107 (or a 100-level equivalent if PHIL107 is taken as part of a Philosophy Major); PHIL218 (or PHIL256 if PHIL218 is taken as part of a Philosophy Major); PHIL226; and either PHIL317 or PHIL326.

Bachelor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics (BPPE)
http://coursefinder.uow.edu.au/information/index.html?course=bachelor-politics-philosophy-and-economics

Philosophy Major – A Major in BPPE Philosophy requires at least 48 credit points of study from the BPPE Philosophy schedule, including all core subjects – PHIL107; PHIL218; PHIL219; PHIL3??; and PHIL317 – with an additional 6 credit points of study at 200-level and 12 credit points of study at 300–level.

AUTUMN 2019 SPRING 2018
100-Level subjects

PHIL 107 – INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (CORE)

Why should we live ethically? Is pleasure all that matters? Can we really know anything? What are we? How might technology change us in the future? Could it extend our lives forever? In studying philosophy you will explore the most fundamental topics, ask the deepest questions and rigorously and systematically scrutinise the answers given by the best minds down the ages. You will learn how to philosophise by actively engaging with thought experiments. You will learn how to assess and advance philosophical arguments. You will discover why philosophical reflection on fundamental questions matters for dealing with practical problems of significance such as issues of global justice, promoting mental health, animal welfare and the march of technology in our fast changing world. You will gain an initial understanding of what philosophy is, how to do it and why it matters.

PHIL 106 – MEDIA, ART, AND SOCIETY

Is there a clear line between fact and fiction? Are journalists obliged to report the truth? Can the arts educate? Can we really feel for fictional characters? In addressing these questions we will examine the role of the media in relation to democracy, culture and freedom of expression. We will consider the impact of the digital revolution on individuals and society, with regard to personal identity, communication, relationships, artistic expression and the significance of virtual experiences.

PHIL 151 – LOGIC: THE ART OF REASONING

What are the differences between good arguments and bad ones? What rules and principles should we use in own reasoning, and how can we identify flaws in other people’s arguments? In this subject, we will study a variety of techniques for evaluating arguments, distinguishing good arguments from bad ones, recognising common flaws in reasoning, and assessing evidence.

200-Level subjects

PHIL 218 – ETHICS: GOOD, BAD AND EVIL (CORE)

This subject provides a basic grounding in ethics. You will examine a variety of influential ethical theories, and you will consider some issues in moral psychology, such as the role of intuition, the structure of self-deception and the nature of evil. You will examine the practical application of moral theories with regard to issues such as drug prohibition, memory modification and digital identity.

PHIL 219 – KNOWLEDGE, SCIENCE, AND UNDERSTANDING (CORE)

What is the difference between knowledge and opinion? Does knowledge require a special kind of evidence, or a special degree of certainty? What do we do we do when we try to explain something? Is there a difference between explanation and understanding? These are some of the questions you will examine in this subject on theories of knowledge and philosophy of science.

PHIL 234 – PHILOSOPHY OF MIND: MIND, BODY, AND WORLD

How can a few pounds of soggy grey matter give rise to the sensational world of our conscious experience? Where do minds begin and end? Do experiments in neuroscience show we lack free will? Is it possible for intentions to cause actions? How do we understand others in everyday life? We will explore and evaluate possible answers to these questions to better understand the most distinctive features of minds.

PHIL 226 – GLOBAL ETHICS

Many of the most important ethical and political issues today have global dimensions. Examples include poverty and development; multiculturalism; intellectual property; climate change and other environmental problems; and human rights. Global Ethics consists of an examination of issues like these.

PHIL 236 – PHILOSOPHY IN FILM AND LITERATURE

Great films and works of literature are a perfect medium for exploring philosophical questions. In this subject we will engage with central philosophical topics in metaphysics, epistemology and ethics by examining a choice selection of great films and literary works. These works provide spurs for philosophical reflection and a target for philosophical investigations. This is a natural pathway for anyone without a prior background in philosophy to explore deeper questions of lasting concern through familiar media.

PHIL 227 – THE MEANING OF LIFE: ABSURDITY AND EXISTENCE

Our lives matter to us and we think they are meaningful. But is existence ultimately meaningful? Or, is it absurd given the inevitability of death? We will explore such themes from the perspective of existentialism. Existentialist thinkers also address issues about our bodies, our sexuality, and our affective grip on the world. We will explore these issues along with key existentialist concepts such as authenticity, freedom, the Other, and responsibility.

PHIL 256 – ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY: ANIMALS, NATURE AND ETHICS

Most of Western ethics has focused on how people should relate to other people. Recently, though, a number of factors have focused attention on how people should relate to other animals, nature, and the environment more broadly. These factors include our growing understanding of certain ecosystems and other species, the threat of mass extinctions, and the fact that human population is now over seven billion and still rising fast. This subject consists of an introductory survey of ethical and other philosophical issues related to animals, nature, and the environment. We look both at some theoretical approaches to these issues, and at a number practical problems such as overpopulation, climate change, and ever-growing levels consumption.

 300-Level subjects

PHIL 319 – POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND RIGHTS

What are human rights? Are they universal? In what sense, if any, is equality an important value? What is social justice? Is it just, for example, that the better off be taxed in order to support the worse-off? If so, is this just only within the confines of a particular country, or also on a global scale? This subject offers a in-depth study of such questions.​

PHL328– APPLIED PHILOSOPHY: PHILOSOPHY AT WORK (CORE)

A philosophical education is valuable in just about any line of work. It develops your persuasive powers; critical thinking, problem solving abilities, and communication skills. A 2016 report by the Foundation for Young Australians reveals that these skills are in great demand today in professions that require people who can stand back and think with an open mind. Through this subject you will examine a diverse series of case studies in which philosophical ideas, analyses and arguments have made a difference beyond the academy. You will be required to choose a current issue or worldly problem and to demonstrate how it could benefit from philosophical analysis. What is the problem? Why does it matter? To whom does it matter? What is holding back progress on the issue? How can philosophy help? To prepare you for this task you be acquainted with the wider world beyond academia and asked to reflect on how your philosophical skills and knowledge can be brought to bear on it.

PHIL 329 – IMAGINATION AND EMOTION

Einstein famously said, imagination is more important than knowledge. Whereas our factual knowledge is limited to the actual world, our imaginations enable us to think about and explore any possible world. Our imaginations are powerful tools needed for scientific and artistic endeavours; they fuel our creativity and are bound up in important ways with our capacities to perceive, remember and understand. When less controlled our imaginations are at play in dreaming and delusion. Emotions, too, pervade what we think and imagine colouring how we perceive and respond to others and the world. This subject examines theories of imagination and emotion, exploring the special properties of these phenomena and the vital roles they play in our lives and thinking.

PHIL 318 – STORIES IN OUR LIVES: MIND, SELF AND PSYCHOSIS

Everyone enjoys a good story: but might narratives be playing much more fundamental roles in our lives? This subject critically examines claims that our ability to narrate to tell stories might be necessary for understanding ourselves and others, for autobiographical memory, and, remarkably, for making us persons. You will consider what part our narrative capacities, or lack thereof, might play in explaining certain mental conditions and psychopathological delusions.

PHIL 326 – BIOETHICS

This subject examines central issues in bioethics, such as informed consent, euthanasia, surrogacy, assisted reproduction, human enhancement, genetic pre-selection of embryos, human and animal experimentation and the allocation of healthcare resources.

PHIL 320 – PHILOSOPHY OF MEDICINE: HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

What does it mean to be healthy, or to have a disease? Does being healthy involve being normal? Do diseases have to be harmful? Is ageing a disease? How does health relate to happiness and other forms of human flourishing? This subject will introduce you to these and other central questions in Philosophy of Medicine. You will examine these problems across a range of cases, including cases of mental illness. You will learn how theoretical debates concerning the concepts of health and disease can impact medical practice, and how different views of the nature of health and disease can affect medical treatment and disease classification.

PHIL 336 – WORLD PHILOSOPHY

Thinkers across the globe have grappled with the same questions of long-standing philosophical interest down the ages. This subject brings great traditions of thought around the world into direct dialogue in an exercise of cross‐cultural philosophy. It engages with ideas of non-Western philosophical traditions and puts them into conversation with Western philosophical perspectives. Topics may include: the nature of reality, consciousness, the self, suffering and happiness, the scope of knowledge, ethics and the ultimate goal of human existence.

PHIL 327 – SPECIAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS

A detailed, supervised investigation at an advanced level of an approved philosophical topic, author, period, or school of thought.

PHIL 327 – SPECIAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS

A detailed, supervised investigation at an advanced level of an approved philosophical topic, author, period, or school of thought.

HONOURS

An Honours qualification adds lustre and value to your undergraduate degree. It equips you with research skills that are valued by many employers and can serve as a pathway to Higher Research Degrees at Masters and Doctoral levels. Please see our dedicated Honours page for more info.

Honours students learn how to carry out advanced independent research in academic philosophy. You will be taught how to choose a non-trivial thesis topic; how to write a research proposal; which methods should be used in designing and planning a philosophical research project; and what is required for writing strong research papers. Students will have the opportunity to test their ideas by presenting their work through Work-in-Progress sessions. Students will learn: what is required for developing a research career in philosophy; strategies for publishing in strong venues; why it is important to work on topics that have impact beyond academia; and what should be included in a competitive CV.

An Honours qualification requires completion of taught subjects, including PHIL470, and production of a supervised 15,000 word thesis on a philosophical topic.

Eligibility for an Honours qualification in Philosophy normally requires completion of a BA or BPPEE Major in Philosophy with an average of at least 75% and at least two distinctions in 300-level philosophy subjects.

The end of October is the normal deadline for Honours applications. The due dates for submitting Honours thesis are normally early May in the Autumn session and early October in the Spring session.