FA21 PHIL342

Note: This course is currently scheduled for in-person instruction.

Metaphysics (PHIL342)
Prof. Patrick Dieveney

Tuesdays & Thursdays  ·  11:00am–12:15pm  ·  PSY–150

This course is an introduction to contemporary metaphysics. The central aim of the course is to provide students with a broad background in many of the central issues in metaphysics. Some of the topics that will be covered include: problems with identity and change over time; different views of necessity and possibility; and agent causation and free will. Throughout the course, we will address questions such as: what is the nature of time? How can an object change over time yet remain the same object? What makes a person the same person over time? Is time travel possible? Are our actions free or causally determined? If we lack free will, can we make sense of moral responsibility?

A central goal of this course is to illustrate the value of resolving the philosophical problems discussed in the course. Towards this end, we will periodically evaluate the impact that various answers to central questions from metaphysics have on other areas of philosophy and science. We will compare and contrast the different kinds of reasoning and arguments common to debates in metaphysics with those employed in these other areas. The aim of this interdisciplinary analysis is to illustrate the importance of these debates and consider how resources from other areas of study might shed light on their resolution.