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You are here Undergraduate > Module Outlines > Senior Sophister > Metaphysics


Module Code: PI4042/PI4142

Module Name: The Metaphysics of Time

  • ECTS Weighting: 5/10
  • Semester/Term Taught:

    Michaelmas Term/Semester 1

  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lecture
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr. James Miller (email)

Module Content

This module provides an in depth consideration of current issues within the domains of metaontology and metametaphysics. The module focuses on the following questions: What is it to be 'realist' about metaphysics? Is language-choice only ever a pragmatic decision, or might it track portions of reality? How did Quine reinvigorate metaphysics (and did he intend to)? Is there a privileged understanding of 'exists'? Can we make sense of metaphysical primitives such as 'naturalness', 'joint-carving', and 'eligibility'? Do simple language inferences make ontology 'easy'? How might we do ontology if not through neo-Quinean quantification? What is the correct epistemology of metaphysics? How much should we pay attention to science in our metaphysical theorising? Should metaphysics be 'naturalised'? In this module we will consider what it is to do metaphysics at all, and how substantive metaphysical debates and questions are.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Name, discriminate and where possible define the principal concepts surrounding metametaphysical debates
  • Name and elucidate the main theoretical positions on the question of realism, on the substantivity of metaphysical debate, and on the epistemology of metaphysics
  • Present reasons and arguments for and against these positions
  • Relate the theory to historical philosophers who shaped current debates, and, where relevant, other issues within philosophy (especially the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and epistemology) and science

Suggested Preliminary Reading:

D Manley (2009), Introduction: A Guided Tour of Metametaphysics, in, Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman (eds.), OUP.