POL205 Political Ideas (8)

In this subject, students are introduced to political philosophy: the study of politics from the perspective of philosophy. Political philosophy involves ethical or "normative" analysis of political structures. Students will think about what sorts of political institutions we "ought" to have, focusing on arguments drawn from a range of influential thinkers from ancient Greece to 19th century Europe. These disparate visions of the "just society" will each be examined with reference to their contribution to the modern political world and the cultural context in which they were conceived.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: POL205. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognise the contested nature of political ideas that we often take for granted;
  • be able to identify how historical, sociological and economic facts influence the development of political ideas and institutions;
  • be able to recognise the expansion of political ideas as they have developed over the centuries;
  • be able to identify underlying themes and issues that fuel contemporary political discourse;
  • be able to explain and apply key concepts from political philosophy; and
  • be able to critically evaluate political philosophies with reference to specific political questions and institutions.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The Classical tradition: for example, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero
  • The Renaissance: for example, Machiavelli
  • The Reformation: for example, Luther
  • The English Civil War and Revolution: for example, Hobbes, Locke
  • The Enlightenment: for example, Montesquieu, Rousseau
  • Liberalism: for example, J.S. Mill
  • Socialism: for example, Marx

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of POL205 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Forum participation

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.