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    A detailed examination of issues in applied philosophy drawn from ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of artificial intelligence, philosophy of religion, environmental philosophy, or social epistemology.

    After a discussion of some key topics in contemporary political philosophy, the paper deals with two controversial issues:  conspiracy theories and indigenous rights. Are conspiracy theories as such intellectually suspect? What about the theory that Big Oil conspired to minimise the effects of Climate Change?  With regard to indigeneity, we discuss the use of the term ‘indigenous’, the politics associated with it, and what rights (if any) should be associated with being indigenous.

    About this paper

    Paper title Advanced Problems in Applied Philosophy
    Subject Philosophy
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,240.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 PHIL points at 200-level or above

    The paper is designed for honours students in philosophy.


    Professor Greg Dawes

    Teaching staff

    Course co-ordinator: Professor Greg Dawes

    Professor Greg Dawes
    Professor Lisa Ellis
    Professor Miranda Johnson (History)
    Professor Charles Pigden

    Paper Structure

    Political Philosophy, drawing on the work of John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas, and discussing democracy, freedom, property, environment population, and sexuality.

    Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories, touching on Popper, Pigden and the cock-up theory of history and the fact that people frequently conspire. 

    Philosophy of Indigenous Rights, discussing categories of indigeneity, the politics of indigeneity, and the question of indigenous rights.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Two 2-hour classes each week.


    Set Texts:
    Coady, David ed (2006). Conspiracy Theories: the Philosophical Debate, Routledge (paperback).

    Recommended Texts:
    Hagen Kurtis (2006). Conspiracy Theories: the Failure of Intellectual Critique, University of Michigan Press.

    Course outline

    Reading material will be supplied.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Ethics, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    1. Understand and communicate key concepts in applied philosophy.
    2. Demonstrate familiarity, and critically engage with key philosophical works in applied philosophy.
    3. Work in team-based learning groups with the opportunity to engage in constructive discussions and collaborative workflow.
    4. Understand key debates in applied philosophy.


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 13:00-14:50 29-35, 37-42
    Thursday 10:00-11:50 29-35, 37-42
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