PHIL 205

Community, Society and Rights

Please note: this is archived course information from 2023 for PHIL 205.


This course covers a range of topics, including in the first half of the course: the theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke as to the existence of a "state of nature" and the emergence of the political state, as well as the concept of sovereignty, social contracts and political amalgamations between sovereign units. There will be detailed discussion of the Treaty of Waitangi.

In the second half of the course, we focus on questions related to challenges presented by immigration, for instance: When and how should communities accommodate different cultural needs and expectations presented by citizens of immigrant origin, in efforts to promote full inclusion of all its citizens? What may citizens of immigrant origin reasonably be expected to do in order to be included in democratic political communities in which they reside? Are there any normative constraints on states’ policies concerning admission?  Are states permitted to sell citizenship to would-be immigrants?  What do we owe refugees?  Is there a fair way to allocate responsibilities for refugees among different states?


 Coursework + exam

For full course information see the Digital Course Outline for PHIL 205.

Digital Course Outlines are refreshed in November for the following year. Digital Course Outlines for courses to be offered for the first time may be published slightly later.

Availability 2023

Not taught in 2023






Coursework + exam


PHIL 205: 15 points


30 points in Global Politics and Human Rights, Philosophy or Politics and International Relations