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PHIL11-121: Cultural and Ethical Values September 2019 [Standard]

General information

How can we judge what is right, and what wrong? Is morality just a matter of personal opinion? From where does the state get its authority? Are there limits to that authority? In this subject we examine some of the most influential, and often competing, philosophical theories of ethics and society. We do so in historical order, starting with four ancient pre-Christian Greek thinkers; Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus. From Athens we move to medieval Naples and St Thomas Aquinas, natural law theory, and his controversial account of what makes a war a just war. To England next and Thomas Hobbes, the first to assert that the authority of government flows from the people upwards, and not down from some higher authority. His successor John Locke agreed, but insisted this authority is limited, never absolute, and that people have certain 'natural rights' which no government can ever rightly violate - a view that was to influence the framing of the US Bill of Rights. Next, to the 18th century Enlightenment and two giants, the Scot David Hume, and the German Immanuel Kant, who argued an action is moral only if it is motivated by a sense of moral duty, and that moral duties are universally binding irrespective of culture or time, thus rejecting moral and cultural relativism. Then to England again and the utilitarian theories of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, arguing that an action is right only if it increases happiness, and reduces misery, to all affected. We then turn to 20th century America and the attempt by John Rawls to answer the question of what makes a society a just or fair one, an account which we contrast with radical libertarianism. Students will be encouraged to develop their own answers to these and other questions, and learn to argue rationally for them.


Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design
Subject code:PHIL11-121
Subject title:Cultural and Ethical Values
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:September 2019
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Weekly Lecture
  • Tutorial: x12 (Total hours: 12) - Weekly Tutorial
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended Study Hours


Prescribed resources:
  • T C Denise, N R White, S P Peterfreund, D Cox (2011). Core 11-120 Ethics and Values. 1st, Melbourne: Cengage , 171. All
After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
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Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ?

Anti-requisites: ?

  • CORE11-120 Cultural and Ethical Values

Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

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Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Knowledge of the western tradition of ethical and political thought, and the ability to express this knowledge in both speech and writing.
  2. Capacity to expound, interact with, and rigorously evaluate ideas in moral and political thought.
  3. Capacity to effectively communicate complex ideas and arguments, in both speech and writing, in ways that are useful in other subjects and in personal and professional life..
  4. Appreciation of and respect for a wide variety of moral opinions and cultural beliefs.
  5. Capacity to engage in group discussion of contested ideas in an intelligent, civil, and cooperative manner.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
*In-Class Quiz - Individual Weekly Tutorial Quizzes from Week 3: brief reviews of key concepts discussed in class 30% Weekly 1, 3.
Project Project part 1: Oral presentation: Feedback and reflecting on philosophical ideas and their relationship to contemporary human life. 30% Weekly 2, 3, 4, 5.
Project Report Project part 2: Research Paper (1500-2000 words) Developing the paper on personal interpretation of specific philosophical idea. 40% Week 13 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Accessibility and Inclusion Support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

Peter Singer and Mencius on Human Nature

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Philosophy as a Way of Life. What is Courage?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Plato’s Republic. Virtue and Wisdom. What is the best life?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

What is Happiness? How to live happily? How can I be happier?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

The Archaic and the Classical Period. Three conditions of happiness. Philosophy as a guide to happiness

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Universities in 13th century Europe and Saint Thomas Aquinas Eternal Law and Natural Law What is “Free Will”?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

“my mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear.” Leviathan and “The State of Nature” Whence Morality?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Hobbes and Lock The State of Nature and Social Contract Property Rights and Original Acquisition

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Enlightenment and Kant’s Three Critiques The Good Will and The Categorical Imperatives In Search of Reasonable Maxims

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Major Works of Classical Utilitarianism Bentham’s Hedonism John Stuart Mill and the Harm Principle

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

John Rawl’s Questioning Utilitarianism Justice as Fairness What is a Fair Society?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

The Vulnerability of Trust Why do we trust and what do we trust others with? How do we trust?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Approved on: Jul 12, 2019. Edition: 1.3