The Philosophy of Human Nature
Open your mind to philosophical arguments about identity, human nature and the meaning of life. Pry into what makes individual human beings unique. Position the concept of free will against determinism. Join in arguments by 20th century key thinkers.
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This research-intensive university in north-western Sydney offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. With over 30,000 current students, Macquarie has a strong reputation for welcoming international students and embracing flexible and convenient study options, including its partnership with Open Universities Australia.
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On successful completion of this subject, you will be able to:
- identify key philosophical problems about human nature at an introductory level
- explain important philosophical responses to problems about human nature at an introductory level
- critically and reflectively respond to the problems and theories introduced in the subject.
- express and defend your own views with increased clarity
- contribute to the learning of the group by engaging constructively in philosophical discussion and activities
- Topics may include: PART 1: INTRODUCTION AND CLASSICAL DEBATES ABOUT HUMAN NATURE
- Persons and Minds
- Are we Machines?
- Free Will and Determinism
- PART TWO: HUMAN NATURE AFTER DARWIN:
- Evolution and the Science of Life
- Genetic Determinism
- Do Animals Have Minds?
- Are Humans Unique?
- PART THREE: THE FUTURE OF HUMAN NATURE:
- Human Nature Extended
- Rationality and the Internet
- The Future of Human Nature
You should not enrol in this subject if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:
- MAQ-PHIX131-Mind and World (No longer available)
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 subject. NCCW (pre-2020 units) PHI130, PHL131, PHIL131, PHIX131 NCCW (2020 and onwards) PHIL1031 The Philosophy of Human
- Other requirements -
Students who have an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion under Macquarie University's Academic Progression Policy are not permitted to enrol in OUA units offered by Macquarie University. Students with an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion who have enrolled in units through OUA will be withdrawn.
This subject was previously known as PHIX131 Mind and World.
The subject introduces the big philosophical questions about human nature, personal identity and the meaning of life. Are human beings somehow unique in nature? Do we have distinct selves that endure through time? Do we have free will? What is the relation between our identity and the things that matter to us? The main theme is whether there is such a thing as human nature at all. We begin by asking whether mind is entirely physical or could in principle survive bodily death. We also explore the links between the self, time, and memory. The remainder of the unit introduces some key thinkers of the twentieth century; and we explore their views on freedom, lived experience, and our relations to others. The unit as a whole offers a detailed introduction to controversial questions about the nature of the mind, showing how historical understanding animates current debates, and demonstrating the relevance of philosophy to live modern issues about science, human nature, and culture.
- Forum discussions (20%)
- Online quizzes (25%)
- Reflective Writing (20%)
- Final Essay (35%)
Bachelor of Arts
- Major in English
- Major in Ancient History
- Major in Modern History
- Major in Philosophy
- Major in Politics
- Major in Sociology
- Major in Creative Writing
- Major in Indigenous Studies
- Major in International Relations
- Major in Applied Ethics