HUMN 3096 What is the Human?

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101010

Coordinator Chris Fleming Opens in new window

Description This subject examines theories of human nature from a variety of historical and disciplinary perspectives. It engages with, and encourages the student to evaluate, conceptions of the human - some of which have had wide currency in the broader culture and some which have not. The subject also engages the idea of whether a unified conception of human nature is tenable at all.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Studies In Human Society

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

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Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Equivalent Subjects LGYC 1283 - What is the Human?


Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate their familiarity with the most pervasive ideas of human nature in the western philosophical and anthropological traditions.
  2. Recognise the complex and intricate links between concepts of human nature and epistemology, religion, ethics and art.
  3. Be conversant with debates surrounding the idea of 'the human' and the very possibility of theorising at this level of generality.

Subject Content

1. Classical and contemporary philosophies of human nature
2. Contemporary anthropology and cross-cultural studies
3. Perspectives on human nature from science, especially contemporary biology
4. Postmodern critiques of the possibility of the 'sciences of man'
5. Implications for ideas of human nature on epistemology, ethics, and art
6. The idea of the 'post-human' and technology


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Summary 1000 words 20 N Individual
Essay 1500 words 30 N Individual
End-of-session Exam 1000-1300 words 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Subject Reader