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ASP109 - Freedom and Power: Existentialism and Beyond


2020 unit information

Important Update:

Classes and seminars in Trimester 2/Semester 2, 2020 will be online. Physical distancing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect delivery of other learning experiences in this unit. Please check your unit sites for announcements and updates one week prior to the start of your trimester or semester.

Last updated: 2 June 2020

Enrolment modes:

Final year of offer 2020

Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Cloud (online)

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Patrick Stokes




Incompatible with:


Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

1 x 1-hour class per week and 1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

1 x 1-hour class per week (recordings provided), 1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


Over the course of this unit, students will develop specific knowledge of the some of the key ideas in French existentialist philosophy. The philosophies of Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Foucault will be given particular attention, focusing on their views of freedom, anguish (or anxiety), mortality, authenticity, and value. In conclusion, we look at some subsequent objections to their views concerning the role of power in our lives.


These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Understand, critically evaluate, and compare key ideas in 20th-century French philosophy concerning the nature of subjectivity and freedom from a range of philosophers, including Camus, Sartre, Beauvoir and Foucault

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Apply a number of key ideas in metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy from 20th-century French thinkers to a range of different examples, and dilemmas, and understand how these ideas relate to current views about subjectivity and the social order

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO2: Communication

GLO5: Problem solving

GLO8: Global citizenship


Construct essay-length arguments of your own using language that is concise, clear and conforms to the standards of academic scholarship (e.g., proper referencing of sources)

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO6: Self-management

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Trimester 2:
Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 (Individual) - Essay 1 1500 words 40% Week 6
Assessment 2 (Individual) - Essay 2 1500 words 40% Week 12
Assessment 3 (Individual) - Quizzes - 20%   20% Ongoing

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link below: ASP109 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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