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Freedom and Metaphysics - PHI00107M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel Morgan
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This module will explore some of the key issues in the free will debate, including issues around the metaphysics of agency, and around moral responsibility.

Professional requirements


Related modules


Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

  • To learn about freedom, moral responsibility and metaphysics
  • To engage constructively with the work of other students in seminar discussion
  • To improve the skills of philosophical argument, writing and presenting
  • To gain an interdisciplinary perspective on an issue, in particular to see the overlap between philosophy, law, and science.

Module learning outcomes

Subject Content

By the end of this module, students should be able to display an in depth and systematic understanding of several classic contributions to the debate about free will and the metaphysics of moral responsibility, as well as a grasp of the forefront of current research in the area.

Academic and Graduate Skills

By the end of this module, students will have developed better skills of close reading and should be able to analyse complex texts in detail and depth. And, students will show the ability to work independently and self-critically on an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided in seminars.

Module content

Indicative topics include:

  • arguments for the impossibility of freedom and moral responsibility

  • ‘deep self’ theories of moral responsibility

  • moral luck

  • moral responsibility and mental illness

  • nature of excuses


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

On formative within a week.

On summative work within 25 working days.

Indicative reading

Derek Pereboom (2022): Free Will. Cambridge Elements in Philosophy of Mind (overview).

Harry Frankfurt (1971) Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person, Journal of Philosophy, 68: 5–20.

Jonathan Gingerich (2022). ‘Spontaneous Freedom’. Ethics 133 (1):38-71.

Paulina Sliwa (2019). The Power of Excuses. Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (1):37-71.

Helen Steward (2011): A Metaphysics for freedom, OUP

Susan Wolf (1987). ‘Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility’. In Ferdinand David Schoeman (ed.), Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions: New Essays in Moral Psychology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 46-62.

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.