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Unit information: Introduction to Metaphysics in 2016/17

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Unit name Introduction to Metaphysics
Unit code PHIL10017
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Bird
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The lectures introduce students to the discipline of metaphysics, as practised in the tradition of analytic philosophy. Topics may include existence, identity, modality, universals, causation, space and time, and reduction.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, students will:

(1) have a thorough knowledge of the key issues in metaphysics

(2) be familiar with some key literature on these issue and be able to engage critically with them.

(3) be able to engage critically with metaphysicians positions and arguments.

Teaching Information

11 one-hour lectures + 11 one-hour seminars.

Assessment Information

Formative: one 1,500 word essay designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).


  • One 1,800 word essay (50% of mark) designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).
  • One 2-hour exam (50% of mark) designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).

Reading and References

Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics, ed Laurence and Macdonald, Blackwell 1998

Lowe, E.J. A Survey of Metaphysics, OUP 2002