• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, English, Gender Studies, Philosophy, Human Rights
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Philosophy has always been concerned with exploring fundamental questions about the nature of humanity, questions that still preoccupy us today and inform many of the other disciplines studied at university. This first year course aims to introduce students to philosophical reflection on questions (a) to do with ‘humanity’ in the sense of an ethical aspiration proper to human existence and the meaning and potential inherent in human life, and (b) how we can hold ‘humanity’ to be metaphysically unique, both as a civilizational achievement and as opposed to entities such as non-human animals or machines. Being human implies that we can be ‘inhuman’, by violating a basic ethical code that defines us. What is the status of that code and how does it inform ideas about human rights? How is the ideal of humanity linked to claims about human privilege and difference? And can ideas about the high value of what is properly human effectively license violence against other beings deemed less important or valuable? 

In particular the course will focus on four overlapping topic areas: humanity and rights; humanity and animals; humanity and race; and humanity and gender. Alongside philosophy, works of film and literature will inform the discussion. The course treats philosophical questions as arising out of dense problem areas, often most effectively mapped in literary treatments. Beginning from skepticism that we know what humanity is, or what it is worth, the course probes three intersectional issues - gender, race and animality - that render the practice and grasp of our ‘humanity’ particularly complex and demanding. 

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Understand some core areas of philosophy, particularly those concerning questions of what humanity consists in
  2. Engage in argumentation, the critical evaluation of texts, basic research and essay writing etc, as appropriate for a first year course
  3. Engage in well-reasoned, justified and articulate discussion and debate.

Indicative Assessment

Critical analysis of selected text, 700 words (10%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2
Essay, 1500 words (25%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2
Essay, due during the examination period, 2300 words (45%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2
Tutorial Presentation, 5 mins/500 words (10%) Learning Outcome 3
Tutorial participation (10%) Learning Outcome 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) 35 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorial and tutorial-like activities.
b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed PHIL1003.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $3180
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4890
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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