Course syllabus



SEMESTER 1, 2018

15 points


For a readable version of this syllabus that preserves formatting click here

Course Convenors: 

Stephen Davies -

Gillian Brock -


Gillian Brock - 

Stephen Davies -


Tuakana Mentor: Nathan Rew


Nate's cohort includes all Maori and Pacific students enrolled in Philosophy courses in stage 1 through to 3.


Course delivery format:

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of discussion

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

 Summary of Course Description:              

This course covers a range of topics including: cultural claims, the relevance of ethnicity and culture to group rights, problems accommodating cultural claims in a multicultural society, the theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke as to the existence of a "state of nature" and the emergence of the political state, as well as the concept of sovereignty, social contracts and political amalgamations between sovereign units. There will be detailed discussion of the Treaty of Waitangi. 


Course outcomes:

A student who successfully completes this course will have the opportunity to:

  • acquire knowledge of the political theories of Hobbes and Locke.
  • consider the applicability of these theories to the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • consider the understandings of the Treaty of Waitangi that the Maori of the time may have had.
  • acquire knowledge relevant to problems associated with cultural claims.
  • learn how to apply this knowledge to current problems.
  • enhance capabilities in scholarly analysis, interpretation of evidence, and presentation of reasoned arguments.
  • acquire skills in report writing, critical thinking, academic literacy and oral presentation





30 points in Philosophy or Political Studies or Politics and International Relations








Friday 1-3, semester one, city campus

Location: Arts 1, rm 209 (206.209).




Wednesday 3-4, OGGB 051.




Stephen Davies

Arts 1, Room 457, Arts 1, ext 87615




Stephen Davies

Gillian Brock , Arts 1, Room 458, ext 88739





Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship a Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). This book is available for purchase in the university bookstore.  Copies are also available in the library.




Please familiarise yourself with the specified readings and come to lectures and tutorials prepared to discuss them.  See the CANVAS reading list for the course for more details.



 This course is taught through lectures and discussion hours. (The lectures are not recorded.) Students are expected to attend both regularly. As well, readings are set to accompany the lectures. Students read these in their own time. But if the readings are not covered in lectures, they will be reviewed in the discussion hours. Essay topics also are covered in discussion hours.

Note that all materials presented in lectures and in readings are examinable. As appropriate, powerpoints and lecture notes are made available to students via Files in CANVAS. In line with the university expectation, this course should require on average 10 hours of work per week, including attendance at lectures and tutorials, preparation for discussion hours, completing the weekly readings, and preparing work for assessment.




If you qualify for plussage your overall mark will be whichever is the HIGHER of (a) your final 3 hour examination mark and (b) 60% of your final examination mark plus 40% of your course-work mark.  The course-work consists of one 2,000-word essay.  To qualify for plussage, you must complete the essay to a satisfactory standard.  If you do not qualify for plussage your final result will be your exam mark minus ten marks.



The exam is of three hours duration and involves essay-style answers.

In the exam you will be expected to answer three essay questions.  You must answer ONE question from Stephen Davies’ part of the course.  (This essay may be on the Treaty of Waitangi – details to be confirmed.) You must answer TWO questions from Gillian Brock’s part of the course.



The essay subjects are presented as topics, not as specific questions. You are required to focus on the readings assigned for the topic. You should identify what is at issue and why it is important, characterise the various positions taken in or referred to by the readings, and analyse and evaluate the arguments offered.


Essays will be returned during the discussion hour.  Your lecturer will announce in class when this will happen. Usually it will be in the third week after the essay was due.  Please make every effort to collect your essay at the discussion hour. 


You should read the file Essays in Philosophy (which is available via CANVAS), for information about presentation of essays. It also gives advice about preparing your essays. One of the discussion hour topics is devoted to the topic of the essay.



Essay submission:

Essays will be submitted in both hardcopy and electronically through CANVAS.  When you submit your essay electronically the process also involves automatic TURNITIN scrutiny.


Policy on essay extensions and late penalties

To hand in a late essay without penalty, you need an extension from the course supervisor.  Usually, extensions are given only on medical grounds.  You may hand in a late essay without an extension.  If it is less than one week late, the penalty is 5%; if it is more than one week and less than two weeks late, the penalty is 10%.  Essays that are more than two weeks late receive 0.


Policy on plagiarism and cheating in essays

The university asks us to advise you of the following:

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence.  The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting his or her learning.  Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced.   This requirement also applies to sources on the world-wide web.  A student’s assessed work may be reviewed against electronic source material using computerised detection mechanisms.  Upon reasonable request, students may be required to provide an electronic version of their work for computerised review.

The policy of Philosophy is as follows:

Plagiarism is taking and using as your own the work or thoughts of another person. The University and Philosophy regard plagiarism as completely unacceptable. Wherever you make use of work or ideas of other people, published or unpublished, these must be properly cited and acknowledged. This includes material obtained from the World Wide Web. Acknowledgement is usually done by providing a reference (either in a footnote or in brackets in the text) to where the material can be found. Failure to fully acknowledge the work of others in your essays will result in a mark of zero for the offending essay, and may also result in a mark of zero for the entire coursework component of the relevant course. Students who plagiarise will not receive the benefit of plussage in courses which offer that option: the calculation of their final mark will include the mark of zero given for the coursework component.

            If you prepare for essays by copying out sentences or passages from texts and references, you must make sure to keep a clear record for yourself of where the material comes from, and of what is quotation and what is your own summary or comment. Anything that is quoted should be indented or appear within quotation marks.

Simply pasting together passages, or close summaries of passages, from things you have been reading (whether these are texts, suggested reading, or lecture handouts) can amount to plagiarism. Even if you give references in footnotes and in your Bibliography, and are not intending to deceive the marker into thinking that you have thought and said these things yourself, you will be penalised for this sort of essay preparation. A marker cannot give you a grade for your ability in the course unless you can put things into your own words, to show your own understanding of what is being said.


We advise you to consult the University’s “Academic Integrity Guidelines”, “Academic Policies, guidelines and procedures and (if you are a research student).

Academic Integrity:


Academic Conduct:





Compare and contrast Locke's and Hobbes's views on the matter of the citizens having rights against the state that set a limit to its legitimate authority.


For appropriate styles of referencing, see


The essay is due at 2 pm on Thursday, April 19. Generate a cover sheet in CANVAS and attach it to the hard copy of your essay, indicating the course number, PHIL 205, your name, student ID, and the course lecturer’s name, Stephen Davies. Hand the hard copy of your essay in at Arts 1 Reception, ground floor of HSB Building. Also, submit your essay electronically in CANVAS.


The essay is of 2,000 words.  If you don't hand in a satisfactory essay, your final result is your exam mark minus ten.


Note:  To hand in a late essay without penalty, you need an extension from the course supervisor.  Usually, extensions are given only on medical grounds.  You may hand in a late essay without an extension.  If it is less than one week late, the penalty is 5%; if it is more than one week and less than two weeks late, the penalty is 10%.  Essays that are more than two weeks late are marked as 0.


Essay writing will be discussed explicitly in the discussion hour on Wednesday March 28.  However, help with the essay will be available at each discussion hour.  You are strongly encouraged to attend all discussion hours if you want to do well in your essay (and the course more generally). A file on "How to Write Essays in Philosophy" is available in CANVAS.


(See the readings for Locke and Hobbes for some resource material.)




Week Number and Lecture Date


Tutorial Topic

Wk 1 : March 2

S. Davies

No Tutorial

Wk 2 : March 9



Wk 3 : March 16



Wk 4 : March 23



Wk 5: March 28


Treaty and essay

Mid semester break



Wk 6 : April 20



Wk 7 : April 27

G. Brock

Note that this week, because of Anzac day, no tute on April 25.

Wk 8 : May 4


May 2, Case studies

Wk 9 : May 11


May 9, Freedom and culture

Wk 10 : May 18


May 16, Special representation, Equality, etc

Wk 11 : May 25


May 23: Illiberal minorities, Waldron, etc

Wk 12 : June 1


May 30: Kymlicka and critics: Kukathas, etc




There are no discussion hours in week one.


  1. Hobbes - Week 2 – March 7

Read Chapters 13 & 14 of Leviathan (available in CANVAS:files) with a view to considering if Hobbes' account is historical or hypothetical.  Why can't one contract to put one's life at risk?


  1. Hobbes - Week 3 – March 14

Read Chapters 18 & 19 of Leviathan (available in CANVAS:files) with a view to considering what constraints, if any, Hobbes places on the authority of the sovereign.


  1. Locke - Week 4 – March 21

What is Locke's theory of property?  What is the Lockean proviso and does it guarantee a fair distribution of property?  Can claim-rights (such as property rights) be naturally acquired, as Locke thinks?


Ch 5 Of Property, of Locke's Second Treatise on Government (available in CANVAS:files).

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York, 1974). Read the sections "Locke's theory of acquisition" and "The Proviso."


  1. Essay discussion - Week 5 – March 28

In this discussion hour, the essay, due 2 pm on Thursday April 19, will be covered.


  1. Hobbes and the Treaty - Week 6 – April 18

We can discuss these readings or view films about the treaty.

Were the parties that signed the Treaty of Waitangi in the radical form of "man's natural condition"? What kinds of political units were signatories to the Treaty?  Hobbes says the sovereign is not a party to the social contract instituting sovereignty.  Yet Victoria (through Hobson) did sign the Treaty of Waitangi.  Does this show that Hobbes is wrong?



Lord Normanby's instructions to Hobson (available in CANVAS:files:New Zealand declaration and treaty documents) and the potted history of New Zealand (available in CANVAS:files).

Jindra Tichy & Graham Oddie, "Is the Treaty of Waitangi a Social Contract?" in Justice, Ethics, and New Zealand Society, eds Graham Oddie and R. Perrett, (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1992), 73-90 (available in CANVAS:reading list).

Stephen Davies & R. E. Ewin, "Sovereigns, Sovereignty, and the Treaty of Waitangi" in Justice, Ethics, and New Zealand Society, eds Graham Oddie and R. Perrett, (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1992), 41-59 (available in CANVAS:files).


  1. Anzac day holiday - Week 7 - April 25





In the discussion hours for the second half of the course, we will use the time available for two purposes.  First, we aim to ensure students have a good grasp of material covered in lectures by asking key questions aimed at assessing comprehension of core issues from the preceding lecture.  Second, we apply knowledge from the course to very brief current cases.  In order to ensure the issues we discuss are of maximum contemporary relevance, this aspect of the material will be revealed in the lectures and announcements made on CANVAS as needed.  At the start of each discussion hour, the case material will again be made available for students who miss the preceding lecture. 


  1. Introduction to key issues - Week 8 – May 2.


Some issues to consider:

  1. Kymlicka distinguishes three different kinds of minority rights.  Explain what they are and how they differ.
  2. Should Sikh men be exempt from dangerous weapons laws in New Zealand?
  3. Should Muslims and Jews be exempt from animal slaughter laws in New Zealand?



Some case study material to be made available in the lecture on April 27 and again at the start of the discussion this week.

Kymlicka, Will Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), Chapters 1-2, pp. 1-33. For access to readings see the CANVAS: reading list for the course.



  1. Freedom and Culture - Week 9 – May 9.


Some issues to consider:

  1. Freedom and the Burqa. Should Muslim women be free to wear burkas in Germany today?
  2. What connection does Kymlicka make between freedom and culture? Is there an important connection between freedom and culture? Explain.
  3. What does Kymlicka mean by a societal culture? Critically discuss his account.



Case study material on freedom to be distributed in class.

Kymlicka, Will Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), Chapter 5, pp. 75-106.



  1. Equality, History, and the Value of Cultural Diversity - Week 10 – May 16.


Some issues to consider:

1.Which groups, if any, should have group representation (or special representation rights) in the New Zealand parliament?

  1. Explain how the equality-based argument works. Does it succeed?
  2. Critically discuss the history-based argument and also the intrinsic value of cultural diversity argument. What weight does Kymlicka place on these arguments? Which arguments are doing the most work in his case for minority rights?
  3. Other current issues may also be discussed – to be raised in class.



Kymlicka, Will Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), Chapters 6 and 7, pp. 107-130.



  1. Illiberal minorities and some critics (Waldron) - Week 11 – May 23.


Some issues to consider:

  1. How should liberal societies deal with illiberal minorities? Critically discuss with reference to the issue of women speaking on the marae.
  2. What criticisms does Waldron marshal against Kymlicka's case for minority rights?  Which of these criticisms do you find most compelling?  How might Kymlicka respond to Waldron's points?  Do you, on balance, agree most with Kymlicka or Waldron?  Explain your view.
  3. Other current issues may also be discussed.




Waldron, Jeremy "Minority Cultures and the Cosmopolitan Alternative" in Will Kymlicka (ed.) The Rights of Minority Cultures (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 93-119.




  1. Kukathas vs Kymlicka, and exam preparation - Week 12 – May 30.


  1. What are Kukathas's criticisms of Kymlicka's view? Outline his arguments and critically discuss them. How might Kymlicka respond?  Who, on balance, do you believe has the strongest argument?


  1. Should multicultural societies accommodate minorities by recognising minority rights? Explain why or why not. If you do not support minority rights explain what other measures (if any) you would support to ensure minorities are not disadvantaged or otherwise unjustly treated.


  1. A defender of group rights or entitlements will need a clear criterion for membership in the group purportedly deserving rights or entitlements. Is this a problem? Discuss some of the criteria that could be used and outline some of their strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Does granting group-differentiated rights for minority cultures undermine the social solidarity necessary for properly functioning states?
  3. Other current issues may also be discussed.



Kukathas, Chandran "Are There Any Cultural Rights?" in Will Kymlicka (ed.) The Rights of Minority Cultures (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 228-256.



 Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details