Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject students will be introduced to topics in a range of the major philosophical areas, including epistemology (what can we know?), metaphysics (what is the nature of reality?), ethics, and political philosophy. We will examine some of the central questions that have captivated philosophers throughout millennia, as well as those that scientific advances and cultural changes have only recently brought to our attention. These might include: What is it to be a person, or a citizen? What makes your actions right or wrong? Could a machine think or be conscious? Is it morally acceptable to eat meat, or to design children genetically? Are we defined by our sexuality? What are the proper limits and functions of government or the state? Is there a rational basis for belief in the existence of God? Questions That Matter will focus on exploring the various answers to such questions, and the merits of arguments for views about them.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRichard Heersmink

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesComplete the reasoning exercises from the LMS subject resources. Choose a topic and introduce it for tutorial discussion by providing a clear and informative explanation of a main idea or claim, the problem to which it is addressed and the questions it raises. In a small group identify one idea or claim in the set text that you believe reveals the author's western European perspective and compare your impression with those of the others in the group. Respond to an assigned piece of text or argument in the tutorial class or in online activities. Answer a specific essay question in writing using the critical thinking skills being developed in the course.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjects This subject is incompatible with PHI1PPR, since it is replacing that course

Equivalent subjects This subject replaces PHI1PPR

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A


Online readings

Resource TypePrescribed

Resource RequirementN/A






Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Identify and formulate a text-based and standard form argument.
02. Identify a philosophical problem and raise critical questions about its assumptions, merits or weaknesses.
03. Identify the cultural context of production of a philosophical text.
04. Locate and review an unfamiliar idea or line of argument in the light of your experience or previous knowledge.
05. Outline a philosophical claim and write a brief defence based on your critical assessment of a philosophical text.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 1, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorRichard Heersmink

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
Two 1.00 h lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.

TutorialWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 h tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Essay 1: 1000 words

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo25 SILO3, SILO5, SILO6

Essay 2: 1000 words

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo25 SILO3, SILO5, SILO6

Tutorial and online participation (regular attendance and completion of 3 online tasks) -1000 words

N/AOtherIndividualNo25 SILO2, SILO3, SILO4

1 hour Final examination (2 or 3 short essays from set list of topics) (equivalent to 1000 words)

N/ACentral examIndividualNo25 SILO6