University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Metaphysics (PHIL10155)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce and examine a number of central issues in contemporary metaphysics.
Course description Metaphysics is the study of the most basic and general features of reality. This course will focus on a range of traditional and contemporary problems in metaphysics. Specific topics to be discussed may include: universals and particulars; objects, properties and events; composition and constitution; the nature of necessity and possibility; fundamentality; ontological dependence; realism and anti-realism about truth; conceptual relativity; and the question ¿Why is there something rather than nothing?¿.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts, to evaluate arguments, and to develop one¿s own critical ideas in response.
  2. Acquire an understanding of some of the central problems in metaphysics and of leading approaches to resolving them.
  3. Analyse these problems and the strengths and weakness of various approaches made to resolving them.
Reading List
Indicative bibliography:

Allaire, E. ¿Bare Particulars¿, Philosophical Studies 14:1-2, pp. 1-8 (1963)

Anscombe, G.E.M. ¿Causality and Determination¿, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971) (excerpts)

Armstrong, D.M. Universals: An Opinionated Introduction (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1989). (Excerpts)

Armstrong, D.M. 'Against "Ostrich Nominalism": A Reply to Devitt', Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 61 (1980): 440-49.

Beebee, H. 'Causation and Necessary Connection', in D. O'Brien and A. Bailey, eds.,
Continuum Companion to Hume (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), pp. 131-45.

Beebee, H. ¿Causing and Nothingness¿, in L. A. Paul, E. J. Hall & J. Collins (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. The Mit Press. 291--308 (2004)

Black, M. ¿The Identity of Indiscernibles¿, Mind 61:242, pp. 153-164 (April, 1952) Cartwright, N. 'Causal Laws and Effective Strategies', Noûs, 13 (1979): 419-37.

Hume, D. A Treatise of Human Nature, Book I, Part III; An Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, sect. 4 (any edition)

Kim, J. 'Causes and Events: Mackie on Causation', The Journal of Philosophy, 68 (1971): 426-41.
Lewis, D. ¿Causation,¿ Journal of Philosophy, 70(17), 1973, pp. 556-567.

Lewis, D. On the Plurality of Worlds (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), ch. 1, sect. 1 & 2; ch. 2; ch. 3, sects. 1-2; ch. 4, sects. 1-2.

MacBride, F. 'Universals: The Contemporary Debate', in R. Le Poidevin, et al., eds., The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 276-85.

Mackie, J.L. 'Causes and Conditions', American Philosophical Quarterly, 2 (1965): 245- 264.

Mackie, J.L. The Cement of the Universe: A Study of Causation. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974, ch. 3.

Mill, J.S. A System of Logic, vol. 1, 1843, book III, ch. 5.

Price, H.H. 'Universals and Resemblances', in Thinking and Experience (London: Hutchinson, 1953), pp. 7-32. Reprinted in C. Landesman, ed., The Problem of Universals (London: Basic, 1971).

Quine, W.V.O., 'On What There Is', Review of Metaphysics, 2 (1948): 21-28. Paul, L. ¿Aspect Causation¿, Journal of Philosophy xcvii (4), 235-256.
Van Inwagen and D.W. Zimmerman, eds., Metaphysics: The Big Questions, Blackwell 2008

Williams, D.C. ¿The Elements of Being¿, Review of Metaphysics 7(2):3-18 & 171-192 (1953)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information 11 Lectures and 11 tutorials.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nick Treanor
Tel: (0131 6)51 3085
Course secretaryMiss Samantha Bell
Tel: (0131 6)50 3602
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information