Theorising Modernity (PHIL2633)


A survey of a range of classical 19th century theories from the standpoint of what they offer to the understanding of the newly emerging modern bourgeois social world. The work of Hegel, Marx, de Tocqueville, and Nietzsche will serve as paradigmatic attempts to discover the essence of this new society. Recurring themes and features will be examined through the prism of these thinkers: these include the problem of meaning after the collapse of tradition, the rise of secularism, capitalism, industrialisation, democracy, bureaucratisation and individualism -- their features, antinomies and problems. The unit is also intended as an introduction to the thinkers concerned while focusing in each case on their theorisation of modernity.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week


1x2000wd Essay (50%) and 1x2500wd Take-home exam (50%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


12 Junior credit points in Philosophy


PHIL1007 or PHIL2533

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.