Faculty of Arts


Modern Political Thought


What should the state do and what should it keep out of?

We begin with anarchism and work our way through public goods, political obligation and the rule of law. We ask what it means to be free and autonomous, and we analyse the threats of coercion, force and manipulation. We consider whether our freedom conflicts with economic redistribution. We ask whether our rights over our bodies extend past our deaths - should people’s organs be conscripted for transplantation once they are dead and no longer need them? And what if people are free but wrong? Should we let them go to hell in their own way?

We analyse paternalism and rational decision-making, and apply it to addictive drugs and the state’s attempts to improve our lives.

This is a political theory course that draws on ethics, law, psychology, economics and public policy.


Coursework and exam

Availability 2020

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Associate Professor Martin Wilkinson


Coursework + exam


POLITICS 209: 15.0 points


15 points at Stage I in Political Studies or Politics and International Relations and 30 points in the BA

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