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Morality and Politics (ARTS90018)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeARTS90018
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Throughout the world many people are disillusioned with politics. Some are cynical. People who are disillusioned still hold to the standards that make them disillusioned with the conduct of politicians. People who are cynical no longer believe in those standards. In between, there are people who smile ironically or even scoff when others speak dignity of politics. They believe the phrase is an oxymoron.

The subject will explain why it is important to distinguish morality from ethics and why we should think of morality, law and politics as distinctive forms of ethical value, interdependent with one another, but sometimes necessarily in conflict. It will explore reasons for believing that politics is a vocation to which a morally serious person can give himself or herself with passion and integrity.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject students should have:

  • An understanding, partly through its history, of the complex relations between morality, law and politics;
  • An ability to think analytically, critically, with an ear for tone, style and voice, and with a humbled realisation of just how hard it is to think seriously;
  • Knowledge of the complex relations between morality, law and politics is important if citizens are to understand the responsibilities of democratic citizenship;
  • The skills are necessary for informed, critically aware political discussion and to restore dignity to political life. They are necessary to anything that requires serious reflection on the human condition.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:

  • enhanced written and oral communication skills through essay writing and seminar discussion;
  • an enhanced capacity to think critically and probingly;
  • a deepened understanding of issues of key concern to the topic; and
  • an understanding of the relationship between the topic and a broad range of current issues in the humanities and social sciences.

Last updated: 3 April 2019