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PHL 132 – Happiness, Goodness and Justice

2017 – S2 External

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Dr Paul Formosa
By appointment
Lecturer
Prof Nicholas Smith
Lecturer
Dr Jane Johnson
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 http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

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

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Task 1 20% 1/9/2017
Task 2 40% 8/11/2017
Task 3 20% 3/11/2017
Task 4 20% Weeks 1-11

Task 1

Due: 1/9/2017
Weighting: 20%

Reflection on happiness. Reflective exercise on what you have learned from part one of the unit.  Length: 700 words.

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 texts; gives accurate interpretations of the relevant texts; contain evidence of creativity; and have writing that is consistently good and without grammatical errors.

Rubric: 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

Task 2

Due: 8/11/2017
Weighting: 40%

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 you've learned over the unit. Length: 1500 words.

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.

Rubric: a detailed rubric and a 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

Task 3

Due: 3/11/2017
Weighting: 20%

A weekly online quiz on the topic covered that week. There are 10 quizzes in total. Quizzes start in week 3 and continue until week 12. Each quiz opens after the relevant lecture. Quizzes involve true/false or multiple choice options. All quizzes remain open until Friday 3/11/2017. The quizzes cannot be accessed after that date. Don't leave all the quizzes to the last minute - you should complete the quizzes throughout the semester after the relevant lecture.

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.

Task 4

Due: Weeks 1-11
Weighting: 20%

Participation and engagement in classes (for internal students), or online in iLearn discussion boards (for external students). In addition to the 12 lectures (where attendance will be recorded), there are 11 tutorials from weeks 1 to 11.

Criteria: An excellent contributor has in-class contributions that class reflect extensive preparation; ideas offered are usually substantive; provide major insights and direction for class discussion; challenges are substantiated and persuasive; makes an important contribution to class discussion ; always engages constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even where there is disagreement; frequent attendance at lectures and tutorials.

Rubric: 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
  • 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

Delivery and Resources

Required readings:

All required readings are in the PHL132 Unit Reader which will be available from the Co-op Bookshop. You are responsible for obtaining access to the readings.

For those who would like further guidance and assistance, a guide to studying philosophy is recommended (but not essential or required) for those interested in pursuing philosophy in-depth. You are NOT required to buy this book.

  •  Doing Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Students, 2nd ed. by Clare Saunders et al. (Bloomsbury 2013)

 

Interactive Lectures

In lectures, you will do more than listen and take notes. The lectures are organized in two-hour blocks. Lectures are interactive and include student activities. So make sure you come along and don't miss out! Please note that attendance at lectures will be recorded.

The tutorials will provide the opportunity to further explore the content but also to work on the different types of skills involved in good philosophical reflection. 

 

Technologies used:

This unit has an online presence in iLearn where activities are set and subject material distributed. Some assessments are conducted through this site, and written tasks will be submitted there using Turnitin, a plagiarism scanning program. 

 

Contacting the convenor:

All email inquiries should be directed to the following email address: phl132@mq.edu.au

Unit Schedule

Schedule – PHL132 Happiness, Goodness, and Justice – Semester 2, 2016

The unit will introduce philosophy under three big ideas:  Living a life of happiness, justifying what goodness is, and some burning issues of justice.

The lecture and tutorial topics are dealt with in the same week. Both lectures and tutorials are interactive, so don’t miss out! You should read the weekly reading before the lecture.

 

Week 1. What is moral philosophy? 

Lecture 1: Dr Paul Formosa (1/8/17)

Tutorial 1

No required reading

 

Part 1: Happiness

Week 2:  “The good life is the life of pleasure” – Epicurean ethics                     

Lecture 2: Prof Nicholas Smith (8/8/17)

Tutorial 2

Required reading:

- Epicurus, “Letter to Menoeceus” & “Leading Doctrines” (c. 300 BCE)

 

Week 3.:Living according to nature – Stoic ethics 

Lecture 3: Prof Nicholas Smith (15/8/17)

Tutorial 3

Required reading: 

- Marcus Aurelius, extracts from “Meditations” (c. 170)

Weekly quizzes begin           

                             

Week 4. Happiness and character – Aristotelian ethics

Lecture 4: Prof Nicholas Smith (22/8/17)

Tutorial 4

Required reading:

- Aristotle, extracts from Nicomachean Ethics, Book I and II (c. 330 BCE)

- Roger Crisp, ‘Aristotle: Ethics and Politics’ (1999)

                                     

Part 2: Goodness  

Week 5. Morality and religion

Lecture 5: Dr Jane Johnson (29/8/17)

Tutorial 5

Required reading:

 - Kai Nielsen, ‘Ethics without God’ (1964)

- Albert Camus, extract from ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ (1955) 

                                                                           

Reflection on happiness due  Friday 1/9/17 

 

Week 6. The challenge of moral relativism

Lecture 6: Dr Jane Johnson (5/9/17)

Tutorial 6

Required reading:         

- Mary Midgley, ‘On Tyring out One’s New Sword’ (1981)

- David Wong, ‘Relativism’ (1991)

 

Week 7. Egoism and self-interest

Lecture 7: Dr Jane Johnson (12/9/17)

Tutorial 7

Required reading:

- Plato, ‘The Ring of Gyges’ extract from Plato’s Replublic (c. 375 BCE)

- James Rachels, ‘The Idea of a Social Contract’ (1986)

Break

 

Week 8. The greatest good for the greatest number – Utilitarianism      

Lecture 8: Dr Jane Johnson (3/10/17)

Tutorial 8

Required reading:

- Jeremy Bentham, extracts from An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780)

- John Stuart Mill, extracts from Utilitarianism (1861)

 

Week 9. The moral law is universal! – Kant’s challenge

Lecture 9: Dr Paul Formosa (10/10/17)

Tutorial 9

Required reading:

- Onora O’Neill, ‘Kantian Ethics’ (1991)

           

Part 3: Justice 

Week 10. Justice and inequality – is global poverty justifiable?

Lecture 10: Dr Paul Formosa (17/10/17)

Tutorial 10

Required reading:

- John Rawls, extract from A Theory of Justice (1971)

- John Rawls, extract from The Law of Peoples (1999)

 

11. Immigration and refugees – can we keep them out?

Lecture 11: Dr Paul Formosa (24/10/17)

Tutorial 11 (final tutorial)

Required reading:

- Joseph Carens, ‘Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders’ (1987)

                         

Week 12. Climate change and justice – who should pay to fix it?                               

Lecture 12: Dr Paul Formosa (31/10/17)

No Tutorial

Required reading:

Jeremy Moss, ‘Climate Justice’ (2009)

Quizzes close Friday 3/11/17

 

Week 13.

Essay writing week

No lectures or tutorials this week

No required reading this week 

Essay due Wednesday 8/11/17                

 

Philosophical skills – Tutorials

We will also be introducing and honing philosophical skills in tutorials. They will be linked to each part of the course and will be outlined in tutorials.   

Learning and Teaching Activities

Interactive Lectures

We ask you to prepare before lectures, and come prepared to participate. Conversation and activity in lectures helps you to acquire the most from the experience.

Tutorials aligned with Learning Outcomes

Tutorials are designed to help you consolidate topics and refine the abilities described in the learning outcomes. You will be given guidance on weekly preparation. Small group discussion, philosophical exercises, and assessment preparation will all be treated.

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.

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.

Submission of Assessments

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

Extensions and Disruption to Studies

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.

If the assessment is submitted after the due date and an extension has not been granted then the assessment will have 2% deducted from the student's grade for that task for each day the assessment is late. For example, if the work was graded as 70/100 and was handed in 2 days late, the work would receive a mark of 66/100, a deduction of 4% for the 2 days late.  Weekends, but not public holidays, count in the calculation of late penalties.

To obtain an extension you must submit a Disruption to Studies application. See below for details on how to do that.

Disruption to Studies 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 Disruption to Studies Notification?

NOTIFICATION The Disruption to Studies Notification must be completed and submitted online through www.ask.mq.edu.au within five (5) working days of the commencement of the disruption. 

Applying for Special Consideration 

1. Log in at ask.mq  

2. Click 'Special Consideration' from the 'Submit' menu on the left

3. Fill in the required fields as prompted. Once you have completed filling out the information, please click on 'Submit'.

 

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

  • Task 2

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 capable of reflecting critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level

Assessment task

  • Task 1

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

  • Task 1
  • Task 2
  • Task 4

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 task

  • Task 4

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 task

  • Task 4

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 task

  • Task 4

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 task

  • Task 4

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

  • Task 1
  • Task 2
  • Task 3
  • Task 4

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

  • Task 1
  • Task 2