• Class Number 7136
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Jennifer Munt
    • Ross Pain
    • Jennifer Munt
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course offers an advanced approach to ethics or social and political philosophy, suitable for students who have a background in this area and who may be interested in continuing into 4th year Honours. What is taught will change from year to year.


An example of a course topic, taught by A/Prof Seth Lazar, Mr Stephen Mann, and members of the Humanising Machine Intelligence grand challenge team (hmi.anu.edu.au):

The Moral and Political Philosophy of AI introduces students to ethical and legal questions surrounding the development and use of digital technologies. Recent advances in artificial intelligence, big data and surveillance technology are explored in light of their relations to major questions in normative ethics. Due to the focus on contemporary and near-future moral problems, much of the literature concerns real-life cases of the use and abuse of AI. Philosophical literature will be paired with articles from computer science journals, popular science magazines and reportage in the form of news articles, podcasts and videos. 


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate familiarity with the philosophical issues relating to ethics and justice as covered in the course;
  2. argue for a philosophical position related to the material covered in the course;
  3. display skill in writing research papers in philosophy; and
  4. discuss ideas verbally and to engage in interactive dialogue.

Research-Led Teaching


Trust & cooperation are increasingly valuable commodities in the contemporary world. Addressing issues such as COVID19 and global warming requires trust & cooperation between countries, between the public and institutions, and between individuals. But what exactly is trust? How does cooperation work? What is the relationship between the two? And how and why did these social phenomena evolve? In tackling these questions we will draw literature from two of ANU philosophy’s traditional strengths—moral/political philosophy and the philosophy of biology. We will assess how these two literatures might inform one another, and apply the results to some of the big collective challenges facing humanity.

The course is made up of four modules, each delivered over three weeks. The first is introductory and will provide some technical details relevant to later modules. The next three each focus on a different social traits: norms; cooperation; and trust. Each of these modules will look at (1) how moral philosophers have theorised that trait; (2) how philosophers of biology have theorised that trait; and (3) how these literatures might be productively applied to contemporary collective challenges. 

A unique aspect of this course is that we will be able to connect students with the authors of many of the primary readings. In addition, we expect to run seminars that involve those authors; likely participants include Phillip Pettit, Clare McFadden, Stephanie Collins, Kim Sterelny.

Required Resources

All readings for the course will be supplied on the Wattle site.

A list of recommended resources will be supplied on the Wattle site.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction & overview All classes will be held both online and in person. All classes will be recorded and uploaded to Wattle.
2 The philosophy of trust & cooperation: background
3 Human evolution: background
4 The philosophy of norms
5 The evolution of norms
6 Norms & contemporary challenges Essay 1 due
7 The philosophy of cooperation
8 The evolution of cooperation
9 Cooperation & contemporary challenges
10 The philosophy of trust
11 The evolution of trust
12 Trust & contemporary challenges Essay 2 due

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials will be held both online and in person. Tutorial registration will be available via the link in Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay 1 40 % 03/09/2021 20/09/2021 1, 2, 3
Essay 2 50 % 29/10/2021 02/12/2021 1, 2, 3
Class participation 10 % 29/10/2021 02/12/2021 1, 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 03/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 20/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Essay 1

2500 word essay on material from weeks 1-6 of the course. Marking criteria: See marking criteria document on Wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Essay 2

2500 word essay on material from weeks 7-12 of the course. Marking criteria: See marking criteria document on Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Class participation

Students are required to prepare for classes (both seminar and tutorials) and to participate in discussion of required readings and other material. This is worth 10% of their overall grade for the course.

Grading: Each student’s participation mark is based in part on the extent to which they come to class well prepared, having done the required reading and having considered the weekly set readings/questions/exercises. It is also based on the extent to which students make a constructive contribution to classroom discussion.

Class participation marking criteria:

Outstanding contributor: Contributions in class reflect extensive preparation. Ideas offered are usually substantive; provide major insights and direction for class discussion. Challenges are substantiated and persuasive. Makes an important contribution to class discussion overall. 

Good contributor: Contributions in class reflect thorough preparation. Ideas offered are often substantive; provide useful insights and some direction for class discussion. Challenges are substantiated and often persuasive. Makes a significant contribution to class discussion overall.

Adequate contributor: Contributions in class reflect adequate preparation. Ideas offered are sometimes substantive; provide some insight but rarely offer direction for class discussion. Challenges are sometimes presented, substantiated and persuasive. Makes a contribution to class discussion overall.

Unsatisfactory contributor: Contributions in class reflect inadequate preparation. Ideas offered are rarely substantive; rarely provide insight but do not offer useful direction for class discussion. Contributions may be distractions rather than constructive. Does not make a positive contribution to class discussion overall.

Non-participant: This person says little or nothing in class. There is not an adequate basis for evaluation. Makes no contribution to discussion.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Jennifer Munt

Research Interests

Moral and Political Philosophy

Jennifer Munt

Friday 13:00 14:00
Friday 13:00 14:00
Ross Pain

Research Interests

Ross Pain

Friday 13:00 14:00
Jennifer Munt

Research Interests

Jennifer Munt

Friday 13:00 14:00
Friday 13:00 14:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions