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Overview

Philosophy enables students to reflect critically on the commitments and values that shape human life.  In ordinary life, we make assessments of character and action, of laws and institutions, of media and art, of the soundness of one another’s beliefs.  What values are implicit in these assessments? And what justifies these commitments to value? Answers to these questions often draw on even more fundamental commitments about existence and knowledge. What is a person? Do we have freedom of will?  What is a mind, and how does it relate to the brain? Could computers one day have minds? What is sensible experience, and how can it justify claims about an independent world?  Are there limits to human knowledge — and how could we know what these limits are? 

The philosophy curriculum at UNSW explores such questions. You will gain an expanded understanding of the human, social, and natural world, and appreciate complex relationships and interactions across these domains. You will discover how ethical norms, political institutions, and social practices can both foster and constrain creativity and innovation.  You will appreciate how fundamental concepts that underpin scientific and humanistic inquiry – concepts as fundamental as “time” and “mind” – have been contested, and their meanings debated, over time. And since philosophical inquiry is highly driven by understanding and assessing arguments, you will develop valuable skills of critical thinking, sound reasoning, and clear interpretive and analytical writing. 

The curriculum covers the key areas of the discipline with attention to how its fundamental concepts have developed both in Western and Chinese traditions.  Students completing the minor stream will gain competency across the key areas of the discipline: logic and reasoning; metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind; moral, social and political philosophy; and the history of philosophy. 

Study Level

Undergraduate

Minimum Units of Credit

24

Specialisation Type

Minor

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Specialisation Structure

Students must complete 24 UOC.

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ARTS/EDUCATION (SECONDARY) STUDENTS

The 24 UOC minor in Philosophy can be combined with a major in English as preparation for a double first teaching specialisation

Recommended Electives

Students taking the Philosophy minor are encouraged to take the following course as an Elective:
- ARTS1362 Critical Thinking for Today's World

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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