Society, State and Humanity (V7064)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

In this module, you look at the fundamental answers given by Western thinkers to the question 'what is society', exploring them in conjunction with answers to the questions 'what is the state?' and 'what is a human being?'.

There is a particular focus on the question of whether humans can be said to exist prior to society or only as constituted by it.

Conceptions of society, state and humanity studied may include those of Plato, Aristotle, St. Paul, Hobbes, Smith, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and feminist and postmodern critiques of these.

Please note: this module has some overlap in content with the second year module 'Modern Political Thought,' which is a core module for students studying joint honours Politics and Philosophy.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.