Metaphysics - PHI00074I

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Ingram
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module is an advanced introduction to contemporary analytic metaphysics in which we examine several topics in detail. These topics might include: the possibility of metaphysics, ordinary objects (composition, constitution, and identity), properties, abstract entities, modality (possible and impossible worlds), amongst others.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

—To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of a representative range of key puzzles, problems, issues, and debates in metaphysics

—To develop students’ abilities to think critically and reflectively about difficult conceptual questions

—To introduce students to a range of the methods and strategies deployed in contemporary metaphysical debates and develop their abilities to use these

—To develop students’ abilities to improve their own work—e.g. by making good use of feedback

Module content might include:

Preliminaries: Language and Logic for Metaphysics

What is there? Are there any non-existent objects?

Do properties exist?

How do objects survive through time?

Is space something independent of objects?

What is it for one thing to cause another?

Can there be time without change?

Does time flow?

Do past and future times exist?

What are possibilities?

Are there such things as races and genders?

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

—understand and explain a range of key problems, issues, and debates in the metaphysics and express this understanding in clear, precise, and accessible terms

—develop and articulate ranges of alternative solutions to problems and issues in metaphysics in an open-minded way, drawing on module materials

—develop and articulate arguments for the alternative solutions considered in relation to problems and issues in metaphysics, drawing on module materials, identifying some points of weakness and some potential points for development

—make a judgement about what is the best view on a particular problem in metaphysics and argue in defence of this judgement

—identify some of their strengths and weaknesses by evaluating their own work in relation to departmental marking criteria

—apply simple strategies for improving their work, based on critical reflection, advice, and feedback

Module content

In this module, we address some of the following questions: What is Metaphysics? Is it possible? Do composite objects exist? If so, when does composition occur? Do numbers, sets, and propositions (etc.) exist? Do other possible worlds exist? What is the nature of time? Is it real? Do temporary objects persist? If so, how?

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 70
University - closed examination
Metaphysics
1 hours 30

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Formative assessment will take the form of a 750-word critical summary of a journal article or book chapter.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 70
University - closed examination
Metaphysics
1 hours 30

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work will be returned within 2 weeks of submission. Feedback on summative work will be returned within 4 weeks of the assessment deadline.

Summative assessment will comprise a 1-hour exam and a 2,500-word essay.

Indicative reading

Ney, Alyssa (2014) Metaphysics: An Introduction, London: Routledge



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.