Faculty of Arts

PHIL 103

Freedom, Rights and Justice


This course covers a range of topics concerning the nature of society and the relationship between society and the individual, such as the following: What is the nature of community, the nature of democracy and the source of the citizen's obligations to obey the community's laws? What rights do people have? How are rights acquired? How do their rights affect how others should be treated? What principles of justice should our community adopt? Is there some way of identifying principles that all members of the community should endorse? What constitutes a free society? Under what circumstances, if any, are others justified in interfering in a person's liberty? (In addressing this question, we consider John Stuart Mill's account of the limits of legitimate social interference in individual freedom.)

The course objectives are to:

  • Provide an introduction to key concepts and major debates in contemporary social and political philosophy
  • Develop students’ skills in reading, interpreting and critically assessing philosophical texts
  • Enhance students’ capabilities in scholarly analysis, interpretation of evidence and presentation of reasoned arguments

In line with the Bachelor of Arts Graduate Profile, expected learning outcomes include the ability for students to:

  • Display knowledge and understanding of some key concepts and major debates in contemporary social and political philosophy
  • Construct reasoned, reflexive arguments and interpretations using valid evidence to justify claims and conclusions
  • Communicate effectively in academic English
  • Express and present information and ideas clearly, coherently and persuasively
  • Demonstrate intellectual flexibility, self-assessment and self-directed learning for the benefit of career management as well as future personal and professional progress
  • Exercise rights and fulfil responsibilities as informed, ethical and engaged citizens contributing to sustainable social, economic and natural environments

View the course syllabus

Availability 2019

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Matheson Russell

Recommended Reading

J. S. Mill, On Liberty (Penguin Paperback or any other edition)


Coursework + exam


PHIL 103: 15.0 points

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