Credit points: 15

Subject outline

How do we make sense of who and what we are? Descartes relied on the principle 'I think, therefore I am' and on the idea of a non-deceiving God. Sartre claims we need God because we fear freedom when in reality we 'are condemned to be free'. If we maintain that death is the end (rather than a transition to an after-life), does death deprive our lives of meaning, or imbue them with meaning? For Freud freedom and self-knowledge are illusions since our lives our governed by the unconscious. Should we agree with Marx or MacIntyre who claim respectively that we are communal 'species beings' and 'story-telling animals'? Or is Hobbes right in claiming that human existence is fundamentally a 'war of all against all'?. Through analysis of such ideas you will develop your own approach to thinking independently and responsibly about what it means to be human.

FacultyFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRicky Sebold

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions A choice Core subject at first-year for a Philosophy major in the Bachelor of Arts (ABA).

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsN/APrescribedSubject ReaderN/A

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2014, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorRicky Sebold

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 31 - 43
Two 1.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.

Tutorial Week: 31 - 43
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementComments%
Engagement Exercise (160 words)4
Essay (1000 words)25
Essay (1000 words)25
Essay Exam 1 hour and 20 minutes (1200 words)30
On-line quiz (80 words)2
On-line quiz (80 words)2
On-line quiz (80 words)2
Tutorial Participation (400 words)10