• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course will be concerned with a range of philosophical issues relating to rights. It will include: (a) discussion in the history of philosophy about the origins and early character of ideas concerning rights, including ideas about rights and their relation to natural law; (b) discussion of a range of arguments about the existence and status of rights, including attempts to 'justify' them; (c) discussion about what the character of rights and correlative obligations should be, and who should be the bearers of these obligations; (d) discussion of current controversies about rights - such as aboriginal land rights, or rights and 'Asian values'. Our prime concern will be with philosophical consideration of normative issues - i.e. about what rights should be - and issues about rights and customary or positive law (national or international) will be discussed in that context.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

The course aims to give students a broad introduction to issues concerning rights, so as: (i) to develop students' knowledge of and abilities to critically evaluate arguments about rights; (ii) to understand why ideas about rights are more problematic than is sometimes thought; (iii) to provide intellectual background that will be of use to students taking other courses which discuss rights, and when they encounter issues about rights in contemporary debates about social policy

Indicative Assessment

Short exercise (10%), 2 x 1,500 word essays (80%) and tutorial performance (10%).

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20 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 Units of either Philosophy (PHIL), Law (LAW) or Political Science (POLS) Courses, or by permission of course convenor.

Preliminary Reading

* Cranston, M, What are the Human Rights?, Bodley Head, 1973
* Haakonssen, Knud and Lacey, Michael, A Culture of Rights, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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