Accessibility statement

Philosophy of Time - PHI00127H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Barry Lee
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

In this module, we examine some important and connected questions about the nature of time and consider a range of views about the metaphysics of time.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations


Additional information

Students who have previously studied PHI00008I Philosophy of Time may not take this module due to the overlap of material.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

  • To explore some central ongoing debates about the nature of time
  • To develop some key skills and abilities:
    • Understanding challenging philosophical puzzles, views, and arguments
    • Discussing complex and difficult conceptual problems with others
    • Evaluating views and arguments
    • Arriving at your own view on a question—based on and informed by a good understanding of contributions to the debate—and then assembling a reasoned case for that view
    • Undertaking independent research reading
    • Finding your way through a range of connected debates, grasping connections between them

 

Module learning outcomes

On completing the module successfully, a student should:

  • Understand some key puzzles, problems, and theories in the philosophy of time and be able to explain those in clear and precise terms
  • Be able to develop and articulate the arguments for and against particular key theories in the philosophy of time
  • Be able to make a measured judgement about which are the most plausible theories based on a careful consideration of the arguments, and make a sustained case for that judgement
  • Be able to read and critically engage with contemporary work on the philosophy of time
  • Have further developed their skills in philosophical discussion and writing

 

Module content

In this module, we examine some important and connected questions about the nature of time and consider a range of views about the metaphysics of time. Here are some of the questions that we address: Is time real? Can there be time without change? Does time really pass or flow? Do objects persist through changes (and, if so, how)? What is the nature of temporal reality? When examining this final question, we turn to a critical examination of views about the existence of past and future objects and events, e.g., Eternalism (in slogan form: ‘past, present, and future entities exist’), Presentism (slogan: ‘only present entities exist’), and the Growing Block Theory of time (slogan: ‘only past and present entities exist’), amongst others.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay (4000 words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The formative essay or essay plan (1,500 words) is due on Monday, Week 7, Spring Term.

The 4,000-word summative essay is due on Monday, Week 2, Summer Term.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay (4000 words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

Summative: Students will receive marks and written feedback four weeks after the submission date

Formative: Students will receive written feedback before the end of term

Students can also get further, oral feedback on their formative and summative assessments by visiting the tutor’s office hour or by appointment

 

Indicative reading

McTaggart, J. E. 1908: ‘The Unreality of Time’. Mind, 17, pp. 457–74.


Miller, Kristie 2013: ‘Presentism, Eternalism, and the Growing Block’. In Heather Dyke and Adrian Bardon (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 345–64.



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.