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PHL 132 – Happiness, Goodness and Justice

2017 – S3 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Lecturer
Kelly Hamilton
Contact via Email
Y3A 264
By appointment
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit provides an introduction to major topics in ethics, moral theory and contemporary political philosophy. The first section focuses on the nature of happiness. Is pleasure essential to happiness? Or does the pursuit of pleasure harm our chances of lasting fulfilment? Must we be virtuous in order to be happy? What is the relationship between happiness and duty? The second section explores the nature of moral goodness. Is morality based ultimately in self-interest? What is the relationship between morality and religion? Are there moral principles that everyone is bound by reason to recognise? Or is the validity of moral standards relative to specific societies and cultures? In the third section we turn to questions of applied political philosophy, focusing on questions such as: What principles should govern the distribution of economic and social resources within a society? What are the obligations of wealthy nations to those less fortunate, including immigrants and refugees? And what issues of justice are raised by climate change?

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  2. Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  3. Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  4. Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  5. Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  6. Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  7. Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  8. Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

General Assessment Information

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Submission of Assessments

All assessment pieces are to be submitted via the unit's iLearn site. Written assessment pieces will be run through the Turnitin software which detects unoriginal work.

Extensions and Penalties 

All work must be submitted on time unless an extension has been granted. Requests for extensions must be made in writing BEFORE the due date and will only be considered on serious grounds. Extensions will not be given unless good reasons and appropriate evidence (e.g., medical certificates, counsellor's letters) are presented at the earliest opportunity. Please note that work due concurrently in other subjects is NOT an exceptional circumstance and does not constitute a legitimate reason for an extension.

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests. Note that for the final essay, no submissions will be accepted more than three (3) days after the original submission deadline.

To obtain an extension of less than 3 days, you should email the unit convenor at kelly.hamilton@mq.edu.au. To obtain an extension of 3 days or more, you must submit a Special Consideration application. See below for details on how to do that.

Special Consideration Policy

The University classifies a disruption as serious and unavoidable if it:

  • could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student; and

  • was beyond the student's control; and

  • caused substantial disruption to the student's capacity for effective study and/or completion of required work; and

  • occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three (3) consecutive days duration, and / or

  • prevented completion of a final examination.

Students with a pre-existing disability/health condition or prolonged adverse circumstances may be eligible for ongoing assistance and support.  Such support is governed by other policies and may be sought and coordinated through Campus Wellbeing and Support Services.

How to submit a Special Consideration application?

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Reflection about Happiness 20% No 17/12/2017
Critical Essay 40% No 21/01/2018
Online quizzes 20% No 1 week after lectures 2 - 13
Class participation 10% No Every class
Submit Discussion Topic 10% No One for each part of unit

Reflection about Happiness

Due: 17/12/2017
Weighting: 20%

Due: Sunday 17 December, 11:59pm

Weighting: 20%

Length: 700 words

This is a reflective exercise about what you have learned from part one of the unit.

Criteria: An excellent written reflection will demonstrate a high degree of engagement with the issue; show a high degree of critical self-reflection; show a very good understanding of the relevant philosophical text; give an accurate interpretation of the relevant text; contain evidence of creativity; and have writing that is consistently good and without grammatical errors.

The reflection will have three sections: 1) your view on happiness; 2) a description of a relevant theory of happiness; 3) a reflection on the impact of the theory on your own view.

A detailed rubric and a sample reflective exercise will be provided in iLearn during the semester.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level

Critical Essay

Due: 21/01/2018
Weighting: 40%

Due: Sunday 21 January, 11:59pm

Weighting: 40%

Length: 1500 words

A critical discussion of a set question from parts 2 or 3 of the unit. Here you show us the critical questioning and philosophical knowledge that you have learned over the unit.

Criteria: An excellent essay will demonstrate knowledge of the relevant content; a clear structure and argument; creativity; proper expression, spelling, punctuation, and grammar; an easy to read presentation; proper integration and referencing of research and other sources.

Note: no submissions will be accepted after 24 January.

A detailed rubric and sample essay will be provided in iLearn during the semester.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  • Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level

Online quizzes

Due: 1 week after lectures 2 - 13
Weighting: 20%

For classes 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13, there will be an online quiz for the topic covered in that session. There are 10 quizzes in total. There are no quizzes for classes 1, 5, 9, and 14.

Weighting: 20%

Note: Each individual quiz is only available for one week, from the date of the relevant class. For example, if a class is on Monday, the quiz will close the following Monday at 11:59pm.

Quizzes involve true/false or multiple choice options. The quizzes cannot be accessed after they have closed. You can also only complete the quiz once.

Criteria: an accurate understanding of the issues and texts.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods

Class participation

Due: Every class
Weighting: 10%

Participation and engagement in class, or online in iLearn discussion boards if you cannot attend a class.

Weighting: 10%

Participation will be marked on attendance and contribution to class discussion.

For those who cannot attend class, participation will be marked on online engagement with the discussion boards on iLearn. The student will have to respond to at least two discussions in order to graded. The deadline for online participation will be three days after the relevant class. (For example, if class is on a Monday, you have until Thursday 11.59pm to participate online.)

Note: online participation is not a suitable substitute for class participation. You are allowed to miss 5 classes and substitute class participation with online participation. From the 6th missed class, online participation will not be graded in lieu on class participation.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  • Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  • Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Submit Discussion Topic

Due: One for each part of unit
Weighting: 10%

You will provide a discussion topic for a class, by posting in an online forum called "Discussion Topics."

Deadline: 5pm the day before the relevant class. This will apply from class 2 onwards.

Weighting: 10%

This task requires that you do the readings in advance and then submit a discussion topic, question, example, or issue, that you would like to discuss during class. You will submit your topic online in iLearn, in the "Discussion Topics" forum.

Note: you need to provide one discussion topic for each of the three parts of the unit, totalling three topics over the entire semester. That is, you need to submit a discussion topic for (classes 2 - 4 on happiness), (classes 6 - 10 on goodness), and (classes 11 - 13 on justice).

For example, a question for the topic you might like to discuss for the Epicureanism topic could be, "Would living an Epicurean life style make me a morally better or happier person?"

Or you might find an example from the news that is relevant to the topic that you would life to discuss.

Criteria: This assessment will be marked on the relevance of the posts to the topic material. Questions or case studies that are entirely irrelevant will not contribute to your grade.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Delivery and Resources

Required Readings

All required readings will be accessible on iLearn. You are responsible for gaining access to the readings.

Interactive classes

In lectures, you will do more than listen and take notes. The lectures are organised in two-hour blocks. In each hour, there will be some lecture time in which the fundamental ideas, questions, and arguments related to the class topic will be introduced, with reference to the key texts that constitute the required readings. Part of each hour will be devoted to engaging in a series of interactive exercises - responding to questions, problem solving, group discussion, and short tasks - to extend your understanding and personal reflection on these issues. Some of the questions you will be discussing will be incorporated from your discussion topic submissions.

It is expected that you will have done the relevant reading before the class.

Technologies used

This unit has an online presence in iLearn where activities are set and subject materials distributed. Students will require access to reliable broadband and a computer. Some assessments are conducted through this site, and written tasks will be submitted using Turnitin, a plagiarism scanning program.

Contacting the convenor

All email inquiries should be directed to Kelly Hamilton at the following email address: kelly.hamilton@mq.edu.au

Unit Schedule

Schedule - PHL132 Happiness, Goodness, and Justice - Semester 3, 2017-2018

The unit will introduce philosophy under three big ideas:

  1. Living a life of happiness
  2. Justifying what goodness (morality) is
  3. Topical issues of justice

Classes are three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12pm. There are 14 classes in total.

The classes are interactive: part lecture, part tutorial. You should read the relevant readings before the class.

Class Schedule:

Class 1: 4 December: What is moral philosophy?

  • No required reading.
  • No online quiz.

Part 1: Happiness

You will need to submit a discussion topic on iLearn for one of the following three classes (due 5pm BEFORE class).

Class 2: 6 December: "The good life is the life of pleasure" - Epicurean ethics.

  • Required reading:
    1. Epicurus, "Letters to Menoeceus" and "Leading Doctrines (c. 300BCE);
    2. Tim O'Keefe, Ch 12 of Epicureanism (2010).
  • First online quiz opens for one week.

Class 3: 8 December: Living according to nature - Stoic ethics.

  • Required reading:
    1. Marcus Aurelius, extracts from "Meditations" (c. 170)
    2. R. W. Sharples, extract from Ch 5 of Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics (1996)
  • Second online quiz opens for one week.

Class 4: 11 December: Happiness and character - Aristotelian ethics.

  • Required reading:
    1. Aristotle, extracts from Nichomachean Ethics, Book I and II (C. 330 BC)
    2. Roger Crisp, "Aristotle: Ethics and Politics" (1999)
  • Third online quiz opens for one week.

Class 5: 13 December: Philosophy skills, in preparation for reflection task due on 17 December.

  • No required reading.
  • Recommended reading:
    1. Clare Saunders, David Mossley, George MacDonald Ross, and Danielle Lamb, Doing Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Students (2007)
  • No online quiz.

Part 2: Goodness

You will need to submit a discussion topic on iLearn for one of the following five classes (due 5pm BEFORE class).

Class 6: 15 December: Morality and religion.

  • Required reading:
    1. Kai Nielsen, "Ethics without God" (1964)
    2. Albert Camus, extract from The Myth of Sisyphus (1955)
  • Fourth online quiz opens for one week.

17 December: Reflection about happiness due.

Class 7: 18 December: The challenge of moral relativism.

  • Required reading:
    1. Mary Midgley, "On Trying Out One's New Sword" (1981)
    2. David Wong, "Relativism" (1991)
  • Fifth online quiz opens for one week.

Class 8: 20 December: Egoism and self-interest.

  • Required reading:
    1. Plato, "The Ring of Gyges" extract from The Republic (c. 375 BCE)
    2. James Rachels, "The Idea of a Social Contract" (1986)
  • Sixth online quiz opens for one week.

Class 9: 22 December: The greatest good for the greatest number - Utilitarianism.

  • Required reading:
    1. Jeremy Bentham, extracts from An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780)
    2. John Stuart Mill, extracts from Utilitarianism (1861)
  • No online quiz.

Recess between 25 December and 7 January.

Class 10: 8 January: The moral law is universal! - Kant's challenge.

  • Required reading:
    1. Immanuel Kant, extract from Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)
    2. Onora O'Neill, "Kantian Ethics" (1991)
  • Seventh online quiz opens for one week.

Part 3: Justice

You will need to submit a discussion topic on iLearn for one of the following three classes (due 5pm BEFORE class).

Class 11: 10 January: Justice and inequality - is global poverty justifiable?

  • Required reading:
    1. John Rawls, extract from A Theory of Justice (1971)
    2. John Rawls, extract from The Law of Peoples (1999)
  • Eighth online quiz opens for one week.

Class 12: 12 January: Immigration and refugees - can we keep them out?

  • Required reading:
    1. Joseph Carens, "Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders" (1987)
  • Ninth online quiz opens for one week.

Class 13: 15 January: Climate change and justice - who should pay to fix it?

  • Required reading:
    1. Jeremy Moss, "Climate Justice" (2009)
  • Tenth (and final!) online quiz opens for one week.

Class 14: 17 January: Revision and essay writing skills.

  • No required reading.
  • No online quiz.

21 January: Critical essay due.

 

Learning and Teaching Activities

Interactive Classes

We ask you to prepare before classes, and come prepared to participate. Conversation and activity in classes helps you to acquire the most from the experience. Post questions you would like to discuss before 5pm the day before the relevant session.

iLearn

Ilearn is your guide to action. You can keep track of where the unit is up to, and the preparation you need to do. It is also a portal to numerous activities that help you learn philosophy: quizzes, discussions and assessment preparation. Use message boards to discuss the topics for each session.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  • Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level

Assessment task

  • Critical Essay

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  • Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level

Assessment tasks

  • Reflection about Happiness
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  • Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment tasks

  • Reflection about Happiness
  • Critical Essay
  • Class participation
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  • Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment tasks

  • Class participation
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment tasks

  • Class participation
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Experience in engaging constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment tasks

  • Class participation
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level

Assessment tasks

  • Class participation
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level

Assessment tasks

  • Reflection about Happiness
  • Critical Essay
  • Online quizzes
  • Class participation
  • Submit Discussion Topic

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Understand how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Understand some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  • Be able to summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Be capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Be able to express and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level

Assessment tasks

  • Reflection about Happiness
  • Critical Essay