• Class Number 2018
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Rachael Brown
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
    • Brigitte Assi
    • Dr Josef Holden
    • Matthew Maguire
    • Rachel Cao
    • Rashna Farrukh
    • Szymon Bogacz
SELT Survey Results

In this course, our goal will be to learn how to do philosophy by examining some central problems from a range of historical and contemporary philosophical traditions. We will be particularly interested in the methods of critical thinking and argumentation that people have used in attempting to answer with fundamental questions. Students will develop analytical skills that can be used in many other areas. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods. We’ll then spend the rest of the course critically examining arguments that have been provided in response to fundamental questions from several different areas of philosophy, at a level appropriate to first year students.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand and articulate some core philosophical problems;
  2. explain and critically examine some central philosophical responses to these problems;
  3. defend a philosophical position on these problems; and
  4. engage in productive, well-reasoned discussion of the course material.

Research-Led Teaching

This course is designed to show-case some of the expertise in the School of Philosophy and will feature guest lectures from across the faculty.

Required Resources

All reading material will be provided via Wattle and available in the library.

Whether you are on campus or studying online, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 What is philosophy? Topic 1: Epistemology
2 How can we be sure we aren't dreaming?
3 Are we living in a simulation? Topic 2: Philosophy of Science
4 What is science? I Quiz (12 March)
5 What is science? II
6 Should we trust science?
7 Topic 3: Philosophy of Mind: Is the mind the body? Essay option 1 due (15 April)
8 Are animals conscious? How should we treat them?
9 Is your smartphone a part of your mind? Topic 4: Metaphysics
10 Would you survive teleportation?
11 Would you survive brain transplantation? Essay option 2 due (13 May)
12 Moral agency, moral responsibility and personhood

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation 10 % 1,2,3,4
Quiz 20 % 1,2,3,4
Essay 30 % 1,2,3,4
Final Exam 40 % 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Tutorial Participation

Your participation grade will be determined by your attendance at tutorials and active participation. Attending tutorials is necessary but not sufficient to get the participation grade, since active participation is also required. You must sign up for a tutorial.


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 (out of 15 marks total)

  • Outstanding contributor (14-15 marks): 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 (10-13 marks): 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 (7-9 marks) 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 (4-6 marks): 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 (0-3 marks): This person says little or nothing in class. There is not an adequate basis for evaluation. Makes no contribution to discussion.

Other arrangements

Other arrangements: We realize that well-prepared and fully attentive students nonetheless sometimes find it difficult to contribute to discussions, and we don’t want our tutorials to be stressful. If you are finding it difficult to contribute during tutorials, please contact us so that we can find other ways for you to contribute.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


You will undertake a quiz comprising multiple choice and longer form questions on Topic 1: Epistemology. The quiz will be administered via Wattle.

There will be a defined time window in which the quiz must be taken on Tuesday 12 March. Make-up quizzes will only be possible for students demonstrating significant and unavoidable hardship.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


You will write an argumentative essay of 1500 words in length defending a position regards a topic covered in the course. You will be given a choice of essay prompts to write on.

To accommodate different schedules during the semester, you may pick one of two possible timeframes: 

1) Topics assigned 11 March (focusing on Topic 2: Philosophy of Science). Essays due 15 April.

2) Topics assigned 15 April (focusing on Topic 3: Philosophy of Mind). Essays due 13 May.

Essays must be submitted by 5:00pm on the due date to avoid late penalties. An assessment rubric will be made available as part of the assignment prompt.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final Exam

The final assessment will be a 3-hour examination, in which you will be asked to answer THREE unseen essay questions. ANU releases the exact time/date for finals later in the semester. Information about the structure of the exam will be made available toward the end of the course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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).

AsPr Rachael Brown

Research Interests

Philosophy of Science (Biology, Cognitive Science, Comparative Psychology)

AsPr Rachael Brown

Monday 13:00 14:00
Brigitte Assi

Research Interests

Brigitte Assi

Dr Josef Holden

Research Interests

Philosophy of Science (Biology, Cognitive Science, Comparative Psychology)

Dr Josef Holden

Matthew Maguire

Research Interests

Philosophy of Science (Biology, Cognitive Science, Comparative Psychology)

Matthew Maguire

Rachel Cao

Research Interests

Philosophy of Science (Biology, Cognitive Science, Comparative Psychology)

Rachel Cao

Rashna Farrukh

Research Interests

Philosophy of Science (Biology, Cognitive Science, Comparative Psychology)

Rashna Farrukh

Szymon Bogacz

Research Interests

Philosophy of Science (Biology, Cognitive Science, Comparative Psychology)

Szymon Bogacz


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