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Time, Tense, & Existence - PHI00070M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Ingram
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

In this module you will explore questions and debates about the nature of time and change through independent reading of key texts and through seminar discussions and collaborations with other students and the module tutor. These issues will be investigated through careful examination of a few key texts.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

  • To explore some central ongoing debates about the nature of time
  • To develop some key skills:
    • to work your way to an understanding of challenging philosophical puzzles, views, and arguments in an autonomous way, showing critical awareness and command of the material
    • to discuss complex and difficult conceptual problems with others, working together to develop understanding and critique and evaluate theories
    • to evaluate views and arguments methodically and in detail
    • to develop your own view on a question—based on and informed by a strong understanding of contributions to the debate—and then assemble a detailed reasoned case for that view
    • to undertake independent research reading
    • to find your way through a range of connected debates, making connections between them and developing those connections to gain a deeper understanding of the debates and create better arguments

Module learning outcomes

On completing the module successfully, a student should be able to:

  • Understand some key puzzles, problems, and theories in the philosophy of time and explain those in clear and precise terms, showing critical awareness and an ability to synthesize information and ideas from a variety of sources
  • Develop and articulate detailed arguments for and against particular key theories in the philosophy of time
  • Make a measured judgement about which are the most plausible theories in the philosophy of time, based on a careful consideration of the arguments, and make a sustained and detailed case for that judgement
  • Be able to read and critically engage with contemporary work on the philosophy of time in an autonomous way
  • Have further developed their skills in philosophical discussion and writing
  • Be able to prepare an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided by seminar readings and discussions, and which show originality and critical reflection in the development of arguments.

Module content

In this module, we do not presuppose any expertise or familiarity with topics in the philosophy of time. However, in cases where students have previously studied these issues, students and the convenor will work together to ensure that there is no excessive overlap with work on modules (on metaphysics, philosophy of time, etc.) undertaken previously.


Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback will be returned in line with current University and Departmental policy.

Indicative reading

Theodore Sider, Four-Dimensionalism (2001)

Katherine Hawley, How Things Persist (2001)

Ulrich Meyer, The Nature of Time (2013)

Craig Callender, What Makes Time Special? (2017)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.