• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Biology

This course examines biology at a general, conceptual level.  Topics include the diversity of life on (and off) Earth, what biology can tell us about human nature, how to understand the role of adaptation and evolutionary theory more generally in the biological sciences and the role of biology in conservation efforts.

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 current conceptual issues in evolutionary biology and genetics.
  2. Appreciate of some of the methods of philosophy of science.
  3. Have an ability to critically question scientific orthodoxy.

Other Information

This course can be counted as a Group B course towards a degree of Bachelor of Science.

Indicative Assessment

Two short exercises (1000 words each) each worth 25% of the total mark for the course: total 50%. [Learning Outcomes 1-3]

One essay of 3000 words: 50%. [Learning Outcomes 1-3]



The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 Units of Philosophy (PHIL), Biology (BIOL), Psychology (PSYC) or Anthropology (ANTH) Courses, or 6 Units of Philosophy (PHIL) Courses and MATH1042 or by permission of course convenor.

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

Very little actual knowledge will be assumed, but an interest in biology and an ability to pick up a smattering of biology quickly will be assumed.  Students who have not taken biology to at least high school level should contact the lecturer before enrolling.





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
2018 $2820
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4320
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8525 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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