- Class Number 4342
- Term Code 3230
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Prof Katie Steele
- Prof Katie Steele
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 21/02/2022
- Class End Date 27/05/2022
- Census Date 31/03/2022
- Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
This course offers critical reflection on the design and evaluation of public policy, drawing on both moral/political philosophy and the philosophy of science.
The first half of the course concerns general issues in assessing the impact of policy interventions and serves as a philosophical critique of the contemporary ‘evidence-based policy’ movement: What are the arguments for/against alternative measures of policy success or social wellbeing? What is the relevant notion of causation when it comes to attributing outcomes to particular policies, and what counts as good evidence of causal influence? How should risky policies be compared, especially where the risks and benefits of the various policies are distributed ‘unevenly’ across the population?
The second half of the course considers more specific constraints/aims of policy, often with reference to particular policy areas. Topics will vary but may include:
• In what contexts, if any, is government paternalism appropriate?
• What is the significance of personal responsibility in the distribution of shared resources?
• Is there a right to privacy?
• What are our rights to freedom of expression?
• How should we respond to minority under-representation in public institutions?
• Is there a collective right to deny citizenship to others, i.e., to control immigration?
• Is statistical discrimination (e.g. racial profiling) ever justified?
• How can/should citizens and their representatives access scientific knowledge pertinent to policy?
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:
and articulate key philosophical issues pertaining to the design and evaluation
of public policy
- Engage with
and critically evaluate (in essay form) philosophical arguments concerning
moral/political philosophy and philosophy of science that are pertinent to
- Engage in well-reasoned, justified and articulate discussion and debate.
This course draws on longstanding as well as new areas of research in theoretical and applied philosophy of public policy. Topics reflect the lecturers' active research.
Additional Course Costs
Examination Material or equipment
Relevant readings will be provided on the course Wattle page.
The lectures for this course will be accessible online. Generally, one hour of the lecture will be pre-recorded, and one hour will be held online live with a recording made available afterwards. Lecture notes/slides will also be made available on the course Wattle page.
Staff FeedbackStudents will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Written comments
- Verbal comments
- Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups
Student FeedbackANU 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.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||How can individuals most effectively do good?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures: One hour pre-recorded video, available for download or streaming one week in advance on Wattle. One hour of "hybrid" lecture, held in person but with an online video connection option, at a time specified in the timetable. Links and instructions will be available on Wattle.|
|2||What, if anything, is wrong with 'virtue signalling'?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|3||Should 'free speech' be stringently protected?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|4||Do we have a right to privacy, and what does it entail?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|5||Is compensation owed for historical injustices?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|6||Is affirmative action permissible/required in public institutions?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|7||What inequalities between generations matter?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|8||The more (people) the merrier?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|9||How is the 'evidence-based' policy standard best understood?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|10||When, if at all, are we justified in setting aside policy options on grounds of infeasibility?||Nic Southwood. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|11||Should we respect 'adaptive preferences' formed under unjust circumstances?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
|12||What counts as a 'public reason' in political debate?||Katie Steele. Two hours of lectures as per Week 1.|
Registration for tutorials will be open when announced by email during the first week of teaching. Registration is facilitated on the course Wattle page. Tutorials are listed in the timetable; some are listed as 'on campus' and will be conducted in person while the remainder are conducted online live. Note that the on-campus tutorials are compulsory for those students who are not blocked from returning to Canberra; these will be subject to ANU's COVID policy.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|tutorial participation||10 %||*||27/05/2022||1, 3|
|mid-semester essay||45 %||04/04/2022||18/04/2022||1, 2|
|end-semester essay||45 %||02/06/2022||30/06/2022||1, 2|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
PoliciesANU 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 RequirementsThe 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 ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.
Moderation of AssessmentMarks 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.
10% of the grade is attributed to tutorial participation, as per Assessment Task 1.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3
Students will be graded on the quality of their participation in tutorials throughout semester; further details to be provided.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2
Students are required to write a 2500-word essay on a question pertaining to the topics covered in the first half of the course. The essay questions will be released the beginning of the 4th teaching week, and the essay will be due at the start of the mid-semester break. Essays will be graded according to a rubric that will be provided.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2
Students are required to write a 2500-word essay on a question pertaining to the topics covered in the second half of the course. The essay questions will be released the beginning of the 10th teaching week, and the essay will be due at the start of the examination period. Essays will be graded according to a rubric that will be provided.
Academic IntegrityAcademic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.
Online SubmissionThe 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.
Hardcopy SubmissionFor 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 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 RequirementsAccepted 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 PenaltiesExtensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions 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.
Distribution of grades policyAcademic 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 studentsThe 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).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
rational choice and inference; social welfare; interplay of facts and values in social and environmental policy-making
Prof Katie Steele