Philosophy MA/BSc/MA(SocSci)

Marxism and Anarchism PHIL4065

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to some key ideas and themes in Marx's, and anarchist political thought. The focus is on Marxist and anarchist ideas of freedom and of justice, and of the relationship between these ideas. The course also covers how Marxist and anarchist writers have criticised and responded to criticisms from each other, as well as from liberal and libertarian theorists.


16 x 1hr lectures; 4 x 1hr seminars as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Philosophy and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Two Essays (2x2500 words) - 100%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Introduce students to core notions of Marxist and anarchist thought

■ Give an overview of the intellectual links and distinctions between these notions

■ Allow students to locate such thought within (and against) the liberal-analytic tradition in political philosophy, and give the opportunity to develop their own views on it

■ Provide a grounding in Marxist ideas of freedom and justice (particularly freedom as flourishing and whether Marx has an idea of distributive justice), and the most significant objections to these ideas

■ Provide a grounding in anarchist ideas of freedom and justice (particularly in different anarchist accounts of freedom, and of the role of equality in justice), and the most significant objections to these ideas

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Analyse and explain Marx's ideas of species-being, freedom and economic justice

■ Explain and critically evaluate anarchist arguments against the state

■ Expound and assess anarchist alternatives to the state

■ Compare and critically assess Marxist and anarchist accounts of freedom

■ Apply their knowledge of Marxist and anarchist accounts of freedom and justice to contemporary political debates (about, for example, economic organisation, democratic engagement, and the carceral state)

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.