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 faculty||Faculty of Arts|
|Offered by||School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies|
|Campus(es)||Caulfield, Clayton, South Africa|
NOTE: This area of study has had one or more changes made to it since publication on 1 October 2011. For details of change/s, please consult the change register at http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2012handbooks/2012-change-register.html.
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:
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.
Students studying a sequence in philosophy must complete two units (12 points) from the following:
Students studying a minor or major in philosophy must have completed the first-year sequence. In addition:
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.