• 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 provides an introduction to the history of 'modern' political thought, from Grotius to John Stuart Mill.  Particular attention is paid to Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Marx, Hegel and Mill, although other figures - such as Grotius, Pufendorf, Kant, Bentham and Whewell - will also be discussed.  The aim will be to introduce students to the thought of a number of key figures, by way of discussing the context against which they wrote, and some key features of their texts.  Students will also be introduced to a range of interpretative issues, from arguments about the interpretation of specific features of their text, to more general interpretative approaches (although this will not include 'postmodern' and post-structuralist views, for reasons of space).

Learning Outcomes

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

After successfully completing this course, students should have: (i) a broad knowledge of the main themes in the work of key political philosophers in this period; (ii) experience of - and in discussing the merits of - the interpretation of selected issues in their work; (iii) a broad knowledge of some of the kinds of systematic interpretation which have been offered of these ideas in the Twentieth and the present century.  As a result of having undertaken this course successfully, I would also expect students to have acquired skills in the interpretation of arguments in historical texts, and in the evaluation of contending interpretations, which they can make use of in other courses and settings.  In addition, I would expect that, after having completed the course, they would be able to identify later work that is in the tradition of the different thinkers with whom we are dealing, and also to spot different kinds of systematic interpretation of textual materials - and also to know about some of the pertinent critical questions which it is then useful to raise in respect of such material.

Indicative Assessment

Initial exercise 500 words 10%

First essay 2000 words 35%

Second essay 2500 words 45%

Tutorial participation 10%


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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 PHIL1004 or POLS1003, or 12 Units of 1000 level Courses.

Prescribed Texts

Iain Hampsher-Monk, A History of Modern Political Thought.  There will also be a reading brick, which will contain material from the texts of the major figures studied in the course.




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

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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