Happiness, Goodness and Justice - 2017

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes and may not be suitable for some students.
Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay (40%) , Participation - Online Participation (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as PHI110 Philosophy, Morality and Society.

This unit provides an introduction to major topics in ethics, moral theory and contemporary political philosophy. The first section focuses on the nature of happiness. Is pleasure essential to happiness? Or does the pursuit of pleasure harm our chances of lasting fulfilment? Must we be virtuous in order to be happy? What is the relationship between happiness and duty? The second section explores the nature of moral goodness. Is morality based ultimately in self-interest? What is the relationship between morality and religion? Are there moral principles that everyone is bound by reason to recognise? Or is the validity of moral standards relative to specific societies and cultures? In the third section we turn to questions of applied political philosophy, focusing on questions such as: What principles should govern the distribution of economic and social resources within a society? What are the obligations of wealthy nations to those less fortunate, including immigrants and refugees? And what issues of justice are raised by climate change?

At the completion on this unit students will be able to:

  1. explain the nature of happiness using concepts drawn from ancient philosophy at an elementary level
  2. discuss how some key modern philosophers have sought to establish the foundations of morality at an elementary level
  3. describe some elements of contemporary theories of justice at an elementary level
  4. evaluate, in an elementary way, contemporary social issues that concern happiness, goodness, or justice, using philosophical ideas and methods.
  5. summarise and explain a philosophical text and its key features at an elementary level
  6. reflect critically on philosophical theories and arguments at an elementary level
  7. construct and defend your own ideas with clarity and rigour, in a logical, structured argument, at an elementary level
  8. engage constructively and respectfully with the views of others, even if you disagree with them.
  • Essay (40%)
  • Participation — Online Participation (20%)
  • Quizzes — Weekly Quiz (20%)
  • Reflective Task — Reflection Exercise (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • PHI110 — Philosophy, Morality and Society

If you have no prior university experience, you should complete BAR100 Academic Learning Skills or COM10006 Academic Literacies: Learning and Communication Practice before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction to Practical Philosophy
2Epicureanism: Happiness as Pleasure
3Stoicism: Happiness as Self-containment
4Happiness and Character: Aristotle's Ethics
5Morality, Religion and Atheism
6The Challenge of Moral Relativism
7Egoism and Self-interest
8Kant and the Universality of Reason
10Justice and Inequality
11Justice, Immigration and Refugees
12Climate Change

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Doing Philosophy: a Practical Guide for Students

    By:Saunders, Clare

    ISBN: 9781441173041


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Enquire online

    Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
    Make an online enquiry.

    Enquire now

    Ready to enrol?

    Start studying this unit now.


    Got a question?

    Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.