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This course asks how a society can legitimately criticise itself. It examines why it is that notions such as freedom, self-determination and historical progress have come to assume a central place in modern life. Are there plausible ways to judge some particular developments of social life as progressive or regressive? Are some forms of social life ‘pathological’? Is the price of modern freedom alienation from ourselves and the natural world? The themes discussed in this course may include: alienation, ideology, modernity, totalitarianism, psychoanalysis and power. Thinkers who may be examined include: Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Marx, Lukács, Weber, Freud, Heidegger, Adorno, Horkheimer, Arendt, Foucault and other influential figures in critical social philosophy.

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 2



Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Additional Information

This course is offered as General Education.

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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