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PHIX132 – Happiness, Goodness and Justice

2017 – S2 OUA

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor and Tutor
Jane Johnson
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? All enrolment queries should be directed to Open Universities Australia (OUA): see www.open.edu.au

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://www.open.edu.au/student-admin-and-support/key-dates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  2. Discuss how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  3. Describe 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. Summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  6. Reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  7. Construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  8. Engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Task 1 Participation 20% Weeks 2-11
Task 2 Quizzes 20% Weeks 3-12
Task 3 Reflective exercise 20% Sunday Week 6
Task 4 Essay 40% Wednesday Week 13

Task 1 Participation

Due: Weeks 2-11
Weighting: 20%

Regular, active contributions to online discussion boards.

Participation will be assessed by the following criteria: quality of your posts in discussion forums and their timeliness (you should post within a week of the topic). Quality is not just measured by the philosophical content of your posts, but by your willingness to engage in discussion with your peers. Much of what you learn in philosophy you will learn by involving yourself in discussion and argument. So while we would like to see some well thought out responses to the topics for each week and to the questions posed, we would also really encourage you to respond to the messages of other students, ask questions, post your thoughts and engage fully in the philosophical community.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Discuss how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Describe 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.
  • Reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  • Engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Task 2 Quizzes

Due: Weeks 3-12
Weighting: 20%

A weekly online quiz on the topic covered that week. There are 10 quizzes in total. Note: Each individual quiz is only available for 2 weeks.

With this task you will be assessed on your understanding of the material as demonstrated by the correct selection of answers in a multiple choice quiz.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Discuss how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Describe 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 3 Reflective exercise

Due: Sunday Week 6
Weighting: 20%

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

This task will be assessed by the following criteria: content, structure, argument, critical analysis, reflective insights and written expression. A detailed rubric for this task will be supplied on iLearn.


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

Task 4 Essay

Due: Wednesday Week 13
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.

This task will be assessed by the following criteria: content, structure, argument and critical analysis, written expression and referencing. A detailed rubric for this task will be supplied on iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Discuss how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Describe 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.
  • Summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level

Delivery and Resources

Readings:

All required readings are available through the iLearn site. Additional readings can be found by using the Macquarie University Library's MultiSearch function. Go to the library site  (http://www.mq.edu.au/about/campus-services-and-facilities/library) then select 'Unit Readings' and enter the course code 'PHIX132'.

A guide to studying philosophy is recommended (but not essential) for those interested in pursuing philosophy in-depth, and is available in the library

  •  Doing Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Students, 2nd ed. by Clare Saunders et al. (Bloomsbury 2012).

Technologies used:

Online units can be accessed at: http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/

Written assessments will be submitted on iLearn using Turnitin, a plagiarism scanning program.

Consult the OUA website for more detailed information on technology requirements: http://www.open.edu.au/public/future-students/getting-started/computer-requirements.

 

Unit Schedule

Schedule – PHIX132 Happiness, Goodness, and Justice

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

Lecturers: NS: Nicholas Smith          ML: Mianna Lotz      PF: Paul Formosa

Week    Topic                                                                                     

1. What is moral philosophy?  (NS)                                                        

Part 1: Happiness  (NS)

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

3. Living according to nature – Stoic ethics                                            

4. Happiness and character – Aristotelian ethics                                     

Part 2: Goodness    (NS (wk 5) & ML)

5. Morality and religion                                                                            

6. The challenge of moral relativism

7. Egoism and self-interest

MID SEMESTER BREAK - 2 WEEKS

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

9. The greatest good for the greatest number – Utilitarianism                 

Part 3: Justice    (PF)

10. Justice and inequality – is global poverty justifiable?

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

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

13: Revision - No lecture                                                                                              

         

Policies and Procedures

Late Submission

Unless otherwise stated, late submission of written work will result in a deduction of 10% of the mark awarded for each week or part of a week beyond the due date, or date to which an extension has been granted.

Extension Request

Disruption to Studies Procedure (http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/procedure.html)

The University recognises that students may experience disruptions that adversely affect their academic performance in assessment activities.

The disruption to studies policy (http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html) applies only to serious and unavoidable disruptions that arise after a study period has commenced.

Serious and unavoidable disruption

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.

If you feel that you've been impacted by a serious and unavoidable disruption to study situation, submit an application as follows:

  1. Visit Ask MQ (https://ask.mq.edu.au) and use your OneID to log in via 'Current student domestic and international'
  2. Under 'Forms' select 'disruptions' and fill in your relevant details.
  3. Attach supporting documents by clicking 'Add a reply', click 'browse' and navigating to the files you want to attach, then click 'submit form' to send your notification and supporting documents
  4. Please keep copies of your original documents, as they may be requested in the future as part of the assessment process

Review

Once your submission is assessed, recommendations are sent to your unit convenor to ensure an appropriate solution for affected assessment(s) is organised.

OUA Specific Policies and Procedures

OUA Special Circumstances Process

Special Circumstances refers to late withdrawal from a unit and your request to have your circumstances taken into account for a possible refund of fees and removal of a "fail" result.

Applications for Special Circumstances are to be submitted to Open Universities Australia directly:

https://www.open.edu.au/public/student-admin-and-support/student-support-services/special-circumstances

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 http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

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

  • Explain the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  • Discuss how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  • Describe 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.
  • Summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level

Assessment task

  • Task 4 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.
  • Reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level

Assessment task

  • Task 3 Reflective exercise

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

  • Summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  • Reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  • Construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  • Engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment tasks

  • Task 1 Participation
  • Task 3 Reflective exercise
  • Task 4 Essay

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

  • Describe 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.
  • Construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  • Engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment task

  • Task 1 Participation

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

  • Engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment task

  • Task 1 Participation

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

  • Engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them

Assessment task

  • Task 1 Participation

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.
  • Construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level

Assessment task

  • Task 1 Participation

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

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

Assessment tasks

  • Task 1 Participation
  • Task 2 Quizzes
  • Task 3 Reflective exercise
  • Task 4 Essay

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

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

Assessment tasks

  • Task 3 Reflective exercise
  • Task 4 Essay

Changes from Previous Offering

From 2017 the Reflective exercise has changed to a single piece of written work focused on part 1 of the unit (on happiness).  It now contributes 10% less to the final grade, while the participation / engagement and quizzes each contribute 5% more. The order of some of the topics has changed.