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Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Arts component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Arts
Offered bySchool of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies
Campus(es)Caulfield, Clayton, South Africa

Notes

  • Also available via off-campus learning, though some later-year units may only be available in on-campus mode. Units are available in South Africa, however to complete a minor/major some units would need to be taken via off-campus learning.

Description

Philosophy 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 are not expected to be persuaded by the doctrines of any one school or tradition. Rather, studies in philosophy seeks to deepen the understanding of a variety of different world views. Students are encouraged to express any conclusions they themselves may have reached concerning foundational questions, but they are also expected to try to understand some of the influential conclusions others have reached. Furthermore, it is essential that students try to understand what reasons people have had for reaching those conclusions. Thus, students are strongly encouraged to study the theory of reasoning (logic) if they intend to major in philosophy.

The following are some other areas of study that are central to philosophy:

  • Metaphysics is 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 is the study of what constitutes knowledge of the world, and of what methods can be used to obtain it.
  • Ethics and aesthetics investigate what it is to make value judgements, and how such judgements can be justified.
  • Political philosophy attempts to discover the principles that underlie the structure of a good society.
  • Philosophy of language investigates the notions of meaning, truth and linguistic understanding.
  • Philosophy of mind studies the nature of the conscious mind.

Every human inquiry rests on general assumptions, which people take for granted while pursuing more particular goals. At times however, in any discipline, foundational questions arise. Anyone facing such questions, in any discipline, is studying philosophy. Thus, for any discipline, there is an area of study appropriately described as the philosophy of that discipline, for example the philosophy of history, of psychology, of biology, of science, of law, of mathematics, and so on.

Sometimes these foundational questions within a discipline can profitably be explored by philosophers as well as by specialists in that discipline. Philosophers can draw connections between the foundational problems arising in one discipline and those arising in other disciplines. They can also attempt to integrate different disciplines, at a foundational level, into a coherent overall world view.

Because the focus of philosophical concerns varies enormously, the school provides a wide range of options for study while at the same time attempting to ensure that students have some acquaintance with the central problems and traditions in philosophy.

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.

Units

First-year level

Students studying a sequence in philosophy must complete two units (12 points) from the following:

  • CHB1010 Ethics, biotechnology and genetics: Current issues in bioethics
  • CHB1020 Ethics, genetics and the law: Justice and the new biotechnologies
  • PHL1010 Life, death and morality: Introduction to ethics
  • PHL1030 Thinking: Analysing arguments
  • PHL1080 Time, self and mind
  • PHL1090 Philosophy of film
  • PHL1140 Introducing logic
  • PHL1150 Ethics

Second/Third-year level

Students studying a minor or major in philosophy must have completed the first-year sequence. In addition:

  • a minor requires completion of a further two units (12 points) from the units listed below
  • a major requires completion of a further six units (36 points) from the units listed below. A minimum of three units must be taken at third year level.

Clayton

Caulfield

Off-campus learning

  • PHL2110 Res Cogitans: Descartes on mind and knowledge
  • PHL2150 Ethics
  • PHL2210 Thinking about science
  • PHL2650/PHL3650 Philosophy of mind
  • PHL2850/PHL3850 Karma, self and liberation: Buddhist and Hindu perspectives (previously Topics in Indian philosophy)
  • PHL3670 Philosophy of religion
  • PHL3880 Space, time and deity: Themes from Leibniz and Hume
  • PHL3890 Stoic and Epicurean philosophy

South Africa

Units not offered in 2010

Resource-based teaching and the philosophy flexible delivery program

Sufficient philosophy units are offered in flexible mode to complete a major. All these units can be taken in any semester and are flexibly scheduled so that class commitments are kept to a minimum. Flexible learning mode units are also available in the summer and in off-campus learning mode. These units use materials prepared specifically for off-campus students, but there is also a tutorial support service operating by telephone, fax and email. These basic resources are usually supplemented by workshops. Attendance at these workshops is optional. The intention is that the flexible learning program should make philosophy units available to students whose work or other commitments make it difficult for them to attend regular classes on-campus.

Closely associated with resource-based teaching is an alternative assessment program. The Keller Plan is used in most of these units. In the plan, a series of assessment tasks are completed in a specified order. Typically, the series involves short exercises, an essay and tests. Each task has to be completed at a satisfactory standard before moving on to the next, but students nominate the standard to count as satisfactory (pass, credit or distinction) and can retry on any task until that standard is achieved.

Relevant Courses

Diplomas

  • 2452 Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
  • 2552 Diploma of Tertiary Studies

Graduate diplomas

  • 3923 Graduate Diploma in Philosophy

Bachelors

Single degrees

  • 0002 Bachelor of Arts
  • 3920 Bachelor of Arts - at Sunway
  • 1638 Bachelor of Arts as a Participant in the Dean's Scholars Program
  • 1708 Bachelor of Arts (Communication)
  • 3914 Bachelor of Arts (Criminal Justice)
  • 3907 Bachelor of Arts (English Language)
  • 3910 Bachelor of Arts (Global)
  • 2396 Bachelor of Arts (Journalism)
  • 1366 Bachelor of Arts (Languages)
  • 1712 Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)
  • 1719 Bachelor of Behavioural Science
  • 1275 Bachelor of Communication
  • 2476 Bachelor of Communication - at Sunway
  • 4042 Bachelor of Journalism
  • 0202 Bachelor of Letters
  • 0821 Bachelor of Music
  • 1144 Bachelor of Performing Arts
  • 1731 Bachelor of Social and Community Welfare
  • 3926 Bachelor of Sports Promotion and Events Management

Double degrees

  • 3277 Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Arts
  • 0550 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
  • 0553 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Banking and Finance)
  • 0555 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Management)
  • 0556 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
  • 1807 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business and Commerce
  • 3912 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business Information Systems
  • 0542 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce
  • 2672 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 0170 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Economics
  • 1541 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education-primary
  • 1641 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education-secondary
  • 3906 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems
  • 0080 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws
  • 3054 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music
  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 1806 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social and Community Welfare
  • 3426 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work
  • 0002b Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology
  • 3779 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Visual Arts
  • 3911 Bachelor of Arts (Communication) and Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems
  • 2130 Bachelor of Arts (Communication) and Bachelor of Science
  • 3904 Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) and Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing
  • 2131 Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) and Bachelor of Science
  • 1802 Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) and Bachelor of Social and Community Welfare
  • 1798 Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Bachelor of Social and Community Welfare
  • 1941 Bachelor of Business and Commerce and Bachelor of Communication
  • 3909 Bachelor of Communication and Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems
  • 1945 Bachelor of Communication and Diploma of Professional Writing
  • 0116 Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Arts
  • 3281 Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and Bachelor of Arts