Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject is concerned with moral problems that arise in private and public life. We will focus on a selection of controversial topics drawn from a number of areas. One of these may concern questions of life and death, including the sanctity of life, abortion, and euthanasia. Another may focus on ethical issues raised by new technologies, such as the use of drones in war, reproductive choice, genetic enhancement, and sex selection. In any one year we may also examine social issues, such as stereotyping, bullying or racism, and/or global issues, such as the international trade in organs and body parts, global poverty, and the ethics of climate change policy.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRichard Heersmink

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveNo

Learning ActivitiesN/A

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsPHI2AET

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/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

COMMUNICATION - Communicating and Influencing
COMMUNICATION - Cultural Intelligence and Global Perspective
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Creativity and Innovation
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Research and Evidence-Based Inquiry
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL - Adaptability and Self-Management
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL - Ethical and Social Responsibility

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Locate, review and analyse unfamiliar ideas and arguments using methods that take into account relevant cultural and other background assumptions.
02. Identity and analyse the underlying issues and problems in contemporary debates about controversial social issues and assess strategies to resolve the problems.
03. Develop a coherent and well-structured argument in relation to a complex philosophical claim concerning a contemporary social issue.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2020, Semester 1, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorRichard Heersmink

Class requirements

Lecture/Seminar Week: 10 - 22
One 2.00 h lecture/seminar per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.

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


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*
Task 1 Blog posts and replies to other students (1200 words)N/AN/AN/ANo30 SILO1, SILO2
Task 2: Staged research essay stage one: annotated bibliography and proposal (800 words)N/AN/AN/ANo20 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3
Task 2 Staged research essay stage two: Essay (2000)N/AN/AN/ANo50 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3