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

'Enlightenment' is a label for an immensely influential European movement that flourished in the eighteenth century. Enlightenment thinkers generally believed in the unity and autonomy of human reason; they were opposed to clericalism and argued for religious toleration. As a form of philosophical thought that emphasises rationality, innovation, intellectual progress, and critique, the enlightenment project is an object of much present-day philosophical debate.

This course will focus on some of the most important philosophical texts from the eighteenth century. It will cover a number of areas: epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, philosophy of religion, and aesthetics. Authors to be discussed include John Locke, Christian Wolff, Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, the French philosophes, and Immanuel Kant. Attention will also be given to twentieth century re-examinations and critiques of the Enlightenment project (eg Horkheimer/Adorno, Dialectic of the Enlightenment).

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Understand some key ideas of thinkers from the Enlightenment

2. Discuss and analyse relevant passages from the works of Enlightenment thinkers

3. Evaluate contemporary interpretations and criticisms of the Enlightenment

4. Understand in general terms how the Enlightenment has shaped the contemporary political, intellectual and cultural landscape

5. Engage in philosophical discussion and debate, articulating their interpretations and criticisms of the various ideas discussed.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial presentation and participation (10%) (Learning Outcomes 1-5)

1 essay of 2,250 words to be submitted mid-semester (45%) (Learning Outcomes 1-5)

1 essay of 2,250 words, to be submitted at the end of semester (45%) (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 4)

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26 hours of lectures and 13 hours of tutorials over the semester. Students are expected to undertake an average of 7 hours per week independent study over the semester (total 130 hours).

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 Units of Philosophy (PHIL) Courses.

Preliminary Reading

Cassirer, E, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Princeton University Press, 1979




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.

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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