Faculty of Arts


Freedom and Limits of State Action

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for POLITICS 249.


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.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Martin Wilkinson


POLITICS 249: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage I in Political Studies or Politics and International Relations, or 15 points at Stage I in Political Studies or Politics and International Relations and 15 points at Stage I in Philosophy

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