PHIL133-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022

Philosophy and Human Nature

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 18 July 2022
End Date: Sunday, 13 November 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 31 July 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 2 October 2022


The human record is full of contradictions. We are capable all at once of selfless love and murderous depravity; of sublime rational insight and base stupidity; of soul-baring honesty and habitual duplicity; of principled rebellion and obsequious deference to authority; of generosity and jealousy. What, then, is our true nature? Are we rational creatures or are we enslaved by our passions? Are we moral creatures or are we fundamentally selfish? Can we improve the human situation either individually or collectively? Does it all depend on our evolutionary history? This course is an introduction to Western philosophy through the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Darwin, and other influential thinkers as they puzzle over the riddles of human nature.

Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills. At UC you can do either a BA or a BSc in Philosophy, or combine a Philosophy major with the LLB, BCom, or another degree.

BA or BSc students who major in philosophy must normally take at least two 100-level PHIL courses, plus at least three 200-level PHIL courses (including PHIL233), plus at least 60-points from 300-level PHIL courses (including at least one course from this list: PHIL305; PHIL310; PHIL311; and PHIL317). For more information see the BA regulations and/or the BSc regulations.

Learning Outcomes

  • In this course you will learn:
  • An understanding of influential theories and ideas about human nature.
  • Familiarity with some highlights from the history of Western philosophy.
  • Better critical thinking through engagement with issues of permanent importance in philosophy and everyday life.
  • A foundation for further study in philosophy.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 11:00 Haere-roa 118 Ngaio Marsh Theatre
18 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 12:00 - 13:00 A1 Lecture Theatre
18 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 15:00 Psychology - Sociology 456
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
02 Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00 Jack Erskine 315
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
03 Wednesday 10:00 - 11:00 Jack Erskine 446
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
04 Wednesday 14:00 - 15:00 Jack Erskine 446
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
05 Wednesday 15:00 - 16:00 Jack Erskine 446
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
06 Thursday 10:00 - 11:00 A7
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
07 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Ernest Rutherford 460
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
08 Thursday 16:00 - 17:00 Karl Popper 612
25 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Michael-John Turp

Contact Michael-John for further information.

Textbooks / Resources

Roger Trigg, Ideas of human nature : an historical introduction, 2nd edition (Blackwell, 1999). Copies are available in UBS and in the High Demand Collection in the Library.

(*Image: Editorial cartoon depicting Charles Darwin as an ape (1871), available under public domain.)

Course links

Library portal
Philosophy Essay Writing Guide (available to all enrolled Philosophy students)
Course Outline

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $799.00

International fee $3,600.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All PHIL133 Occurrences

  • PHIL133-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022