Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Focusing on major themes in the intellectual development of the Western world, from Greek metaphysics and ethics, through Christian theology to Modern (17-19 century) scientific, political, ecological or aesthetic understandings of our place and responsibilities in the wider world, we will investigate ideas that continue to inform and guide much contemporary thinking on the social, economic, or environmental challenges of our times, such as, living well, happiness, justice, freedom, knowledge and the power to produce change in the world. We will consider differences in approach, including competing empiricist, rationalist or idealist assumptions that underpin our knowledge claims, as well as the choices that these differences enable and their consequent impact on the public good now and in the future. We will ask: how might an appreciation of the historical emergence of such ideas assist us in reflecting on our responsibilities in relation to the demands of our times?

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorToula Diamanto Nicolacopoulos

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesIn forum posts and replies identify ideas or claims in the set texts that you believe reveal the author's western European perspective. In group discussion consider their relevance today. Read set passages from key texts, think about and answer a series of questions about the propositions they make. Choose a writing activity from the LMS subject resources, think about the question, re-read the relevant set text, conduct a library/internet search of relevant secondary sources and plan your own response. Choose one of the main research topics, read the set text, think about and discuss a philosophical claim and objections to it in the light of its historical assumptions, presuppositions or implications.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A


The passion of the western mind

Resource TypeRecommended

Resource RequirementN/A

AuthorTarnas, R.





Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Learning to Live: A User's Manual

Resource TypeRecommended

Resource RequirementN/A

AuthorFerry, L.





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 the cultural context of production of a text from the history of philosophy, compare the former to current times and ideas.
02. Identify the underlying issues in a complex problem or controversial debate and analyse its structure.
03. Locate and review an unfamiliar idea or line of argument in the light of your understanding of the intellectual context in which it was formulated and analyse it in relationship to other relevant ideas.
04. Write a sustained defence of a philosophical claim based on your critical assessment of a philosophical problem raised in a text from the history of philosophy.

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-ordinatorToula Diamanto Nicolacopoulos

Class requirements

Collaborative Based LearningWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 h collaborative based learning per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.
Week 4 and Week 6 Face to face; the remainder on line

Lecture/SeminarWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.00 h lecture/seminar per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.
George Vassilacopoulos will also be teaching

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.00 h unscheduled online class per week from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via online.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Task 1: Critical Reading Exercise (600 words)

N/AOtherIndividualNo15 SILO2

Task 2: On-line Forum Discussion (1000 word equivalent)

N/AOtherIndividualNo25 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3

Task 3: Staged Essay Part One: Proposal and Bibliography (800 words)

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo20 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3

Task 4: Staged Essay Part Two: Essay (1600 words)

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo40 SILO2, SILO3, SILO4