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This is an introduction to political philosophy. Political philosophy is the branch of philosophy concerned with political values, such as freedom, equality, community, rights, duties, and democracy. Political philosophy is as old as philosophy itself. However, this unit will focus on contemporary debates. These cover a wide range of issues linked by fundamental disagreements about what makes one form of government better than another. The readings are selected principally on the basis of their influence in philosophy and other disciplines such as political science and sociology, as well as the wider culture.

Summary 2021

Unit name Political Philosophy
Unit code HPH304
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline Philosophy and Gender Studies

Dr. David Coady

Teaching staff

Dr. David Coady

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the work of some of the most important political philosophers in contemporary political philosophy.
  2. Understand some of the historical context from which contemporary debates in political philosophy arose.
  3. Analyse ideas about politics with increased sophistication.
  4. Apply the concepts of contemporary political philosophy to contemporary political issues.
  5. Develop an ability to understand and respect the political commitments of others, without necessarily sharing them.




25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any faculty


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:


Teaching Pattern

2 x 1hr lectures weekly, 1 x 1hr tutorial fortnight (13 wks)


Task 1: Exam (50%)

Task 2: Presentation (10%)

Task 3: Essay (40%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Information about any textbook requirements will be available from mid November.


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