Subject details

At the completion of this subject students will have:

  1. a good general knowledge of some of the major theories and current debates in contemporary political philosophy
  2. an ability to understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literature
  3. an ability to evaluate these theories and arguments critically
  4. the ability to develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the subject
  5. clarity of thought, clarity of written expression and exposition. 
    • Section 1: Equality and Inequality - Introduction: Equality and Diversity
    • Section 1: Utilitarianism
    • Section 1: Rawls Theory of Justice
    • Section 1: Dworkin on Equality (Luck Egalitarianism)
    • Section 1: Nozick's Libertarianism
    • Section 1: Analytical Marxism
    • Section 2: Diversity, Citizenship and Justice: Retributive Justice, Criminality and Punishment
    • Section 2: Feminism
    • Section 2: Citizenship
    • Section 2: Multiculturalism
    • Section 2: Global Justice
  • Study resources

    • Instructional methods

      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Podcasting/Lecture capture
      • Standard Media
      • Web links
    • Online materials

      • Printable format materials
      • Resources and Links

Equivalent subjects

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

  • NCCW: MAQ-PHI320


You must complete some Level 1 and 2 studies before starting this subject. Prior study in Philosophy is recommended.

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject was previously known as PHI320 Theories of Justice.

What is justice? This subject explores this important question by examining a number of leading contemporary philosophical theories of justice, including John Rawls's influential theory of justice, and assessing the capacity of these theories to respond to pressing social issues. To do this we look at issues of inequality and diversity in society by asking: what degree of inequality, if any, can be justified? We explore the different answers to this question proposed by liberals, libertarians, and Marxists. We shall also examine broader social questions around justice, such as: should we focus more on the well-being of communities and less on the rights of individuals? Is justice biased against women? Should minorities receive special protections and privileges? How can we justify punishing those who violate justice? What are the obligations of democratic citizenship? And what do we owe the poor in other countries?

  • Participation (10%)
  • Research Presentation (15%)
  • Comparative Analysis (20%)
  • Essay Plan and Essay (35%)
  • Quizzes (20%)

Textbook information is pending.

Textbook information is pending.

Related degrees

undergraduate MAQ-ART-DEG-2019

Bachelor of Arts

  • Major in Ancient History
  • Major in English
  • Major in Modern History
  • Major in Philosophy
  • Major in Politics
  • Major in Society and Culture
  • Major in Sociology
  • Major in Creative Writing