PHIL 3008 Classics of Modern Philosophy

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102420

Coordinator Jennifer Mensch Opens in new window

Description Classics of Modern Philosophy introduces students to a selected number of 'great' (highly influential) philosophical texts from the seventeenth up to the twentieth century. Addressing fundamental issues such as human freedom, the nature of truth and knowledge, technological progress, problems of modern life, this subject guides students through key statements with supporting explanation of the philosophers, their projects and careers, and relevant social contexts.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Philosophy

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Equivalent Subjects LGYA 0902 - Classics of Modern Philosophy


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. identify key philosophical frameworks from the modern era
  2. summarise key concepts in the modern philosophical tradition
  3. describe enduring philosophical issues from the modern tradition
  4. apply skills in argument, reasoning and critical analysis to written work
  5. apply skills in reading, understanding and interpretation to primary philosophical texts and commentaries.

Subject Content

The subject will analyse key texts from a variety of philosophical traditions. These might include:
- Continental rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz; problems of methods, the criterion of truth and certainty)
- British Empiricism - Locke, Berkeley, Hume; approaches to knowledge and scepticism
- Kantian and post-Kantian idealism - Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel: gnoseological concerns, The relation between self and World
- Nietzsche and influence: Truth and knowledge, nihilism, will to power, The critique of religion and morality, Aesthetic experience, The critique of subjectivity
- Existentialism and Phenomenology - Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Merleau-Ponty Jaspers, Marcel: Issues on existence, freedom, Individualism, values of life, suicide, political commitment, love, alienation, mind/body distinction
- The Frankfurt school - Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse and Issues on rationality, Technology, political domination, Fascism, Critical theory, The Project of enlightenment and Modernity
- Later Heidegger on technology and progress; language and meaning
- Frege, Wittgenstein, AJ Ayer on philosophy and language
- Benjamin on violence and politics, history, Modernity
- DeBeauvoir, Kristeva, Irigaray, on Continental philosophy of sex and gender
- The structuralist innovations - Barthes, Jacobsen, Lacan, Levi-Strauss
- Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas on ethics and The other


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
Portfolio 3 x 750 words each (20% each) 60 N Individual
Essay 1,500 words 40 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • A collection of readings provided by subject coordinator.

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)

Bankstown City


Subject Contact Jennifer Mensch Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Jennifer Mensch Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window