Philosophy of the Human Person and Society


Semester 2, 2020
Wednesday 6.00pm — 9.00pm

This unit is devoted to the systematic examination of the basic presuppositions, concepts and theoretical frameworks that have shaped the Western philosophical understanding of the human person as individual and socio-political. The topics covered in this unit include nature, agency and subjectivity, bodiliness, sexual difference, the personal capacity for transcendence; the basis, purpose and structure of the state’s authority; liberalism and distributive justice.  A number of contemporary approaches to the understanding of human nature will be discussed in relation to the human person as a moral and social subject.

Census Date

Tuesday 18 August




face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


  • ten 200-word assignments 50%
  • one 500-word essay 12.5%
  • one 1,500 word essay 37.5%
or [Lecturer's variation]
  • 2-hour written examination (2,000 words) 50%
  • one 1,500-word essay 37.5%
  • one 500-word essay 12.5%


  • Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologiae. Translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. 2nd ed. London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, 1927. 
  • Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. 2 vols. Bollingen 71: 2. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984. 
  • Descartes, René. Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies. Translated by Michael Moriarty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Everyman’s Library 691. London: Dent, 1973.
  • Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Translated and edited by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government. Hamilton: McMaster University Archive of the History of Economic Thought, 1999. 
  • Rousseau, Jean Jacques. The Social Contract and Discourses. Translation and introduction by G.D.H. Cole, revised and augmented by J. H. Brumfitt and John C. Hall. London: Dent, 1973.
  • Sophocles. The Theban Plays: King Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. Translated by E. F. Watling. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1947.