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Reason (MULT10016)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeMULT10016
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Reason, many believe, is what makes us human. Until recently, most scientists and philosophers agreed that the ability to use the mind to analyse and interpret the world is something intrinsic to the nature of our species. Reason has a long and extraordinary history. We will explore a number of inter-related themes: the nature of reason from Ancient Greece to our contemporary world; the ever shifting relationship between reason and faith; reason's place in the development of scientific experimentation and thinking; shifting perspectives about the uses of Reason and, finally, how reason relates to theories of the mind, exploring the tensions between reason, the passions and the will.

Reason will take you on a journey from Plato's cave to the neuro-scientists' lab. We will visit revolutions in science, thinking and politics. We will explore the impact of some of the great philosophers of history, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Bentham, Coleridge, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault and many more besides. By the end of this subject you will have a deep understanding of the importance of the idea of reason to human history and philosophy. You might, even, be able to answer the question: 'does reason exist?'

Reason is an Arts Foundation Subject and we will argue that understanding the history and philosophy of reason provides great insights into many aspects of the humanities from political philosophy to understanding history. We will, of course, be paying particular attention to the foundational skills that will help you successfully complete your Arts major: particularly critical thinking and argument development.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • identify and locate relevant resources using library and other (web-based) databases and search tools
  • understand and use academic bibliographic conventions of citation and referencing
  • describe and analyse the uses of reason in the following domains: philosophy; science; faith and religion; and identity
  • formulate arguments about the uses of reason

Generic skills

Students who complete this subject should develop skills in:

  • Critical and analytical (including argument identification and analysis);
  • Communication (written and oral);
  • Teamwork / Collaboration (during tutorials and workshops);
  • Engagement (with real world ideas and problems);
  • Cultural and Social Alignment of values (through understanding the impact of Reason on society and culture through the ages)

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • A Bibliographic Exercise of 500 words, due in Week 5 (15%)
  • A 2000 word essay due in Week 9 (45%)
  • An exam equivalent to 1500 words, during the end of semester examination Period (40%).

Hurdle Requirement:

  • This subject has an attendance hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance (9 out of 12 tutorials) and 100% skills workshop attendance (3 out of 3 skills workshops).
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day.

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorJames Bradley
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours42 hours - Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week; and a 2-hour skills workshop in weeks 1, 2 and 3 OR weeks 4,5 and 6 OR weeks 7,8 and 9.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Subject readings will be available online

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 24 August 2019