2 - Second Semester
|Location:||Lecture Room 1 in the Arts Faculty|
|Instructors:||James Doyle, James Ladyman|
|Day & Time:||Thursdays at 10am|
You can contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) or telephone (928 7608, 928 7609), or by coming along to our office hours. Please make sure to check your email account regularly for announcements regarding this course.
By the end of the course students should be able to:
To attain 10 credits students must attend and pass, or make a fair attempt at passing, the examination in the summer term.
The assessment for this course is based entirely on a two hour examination in which you will be required to answer two questions out of eight. In order to get the credit for this course you must attend and pass (or make a fair attempt at passing) the exam.
N.B.: Many of these topics are the subject of very difficult and sometimes very technical literature. The minimal aim of this course is to impart a rudimentary understanding of the topics discussed and to enable you to participate in the debates about them at the most basic level.
Each week we will give a lecture and there will usually be specific readings to accompany it (indicated by the numbers in square brackets below) which will be taken from T Crane and K Farkas (eds), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. You will need access to a copy of this book; it is not cheap, but the papers in it will be useful to you throughout your degree. You may find some of the readings very difficult in places. You are not expected to understand every detail in all the papers but you are expected to try and get what you can from them; the main thing is to grasp the problems we will be discussing and the basics of the different responses to them.
We begin by introducing the issues of ontological commitment and the semantics of existence statements , since these can perhaps be better understood in isolation than other questions in metaphysics, and the former issue concerns principles which regulate all metaphysical thought. We proceed to the issue of universals, properties and particulars [19, 20, 21, 23], treated as far as possible independently of contentious questions about modality, to which we then proceed [24, 25, 26, 27]. An understanding of modal notions equips us for a discussion of causation [30, 31, 32]. An introduction to influential philosophical accounts of time [33, 34] forms part of the background to debates about identity, identity through time and personal identity [40, 41, 42]. We conclude with a look at the traditional problems of free will [50, 51, 52] and the nature and existence of God [2, 4, 6], and a recapitulation of the main themes of the course.
NB: You must do the reading otherwise you will very quickly get lost
A.Grayling, Philosophy: A Guide through the Subject, the section on Metaphysics is very useful, as is the one on Philosophical Logic
A.Grayling An Introduction to Philosophical Logic
M.Sainsbury Logical Forms
P.van Inwagen, Metaphysics
M.Loux, Metaphysics: a contemporary introduction - particularly recommended
S.Laurence and C.Macdonald, Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics
E.Sosa and J.Kim (eds), A Companion to Metaphysics, which has entries covering all the topics outlined below.
Existence and Reference
B.Russell 'On Denoting'
S.Kripke Naming and Necessity
G.Frege 'Sense and Reference'
Part I of J.Kim and E.Sosa (eds), Metaphysics: An Anthology
Part I of S.Laurence and C.Macdonald, Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics
Part II of J.Kim and E.Sosa (eds), Metaphysics: An Anthology
D.Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds
A.Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity
R.Stalnaker, 'Possible Worlds', chapter 3 of his Inquiry.
P.van Inwagen, 'Two Concepts of Possible Worlds', in Minnesota Studies in Philosophy, Volume 6, 1986
A good collection of papers is M. Loux, (ed.), The Possible and the Actual.
Quine is sceptical about modal logic, see 'Reference and Modality', in his From a Logical Point of View, and 'Carnap and Logical Truth' and 'Necessary Truth', in The Ways of Paradox. See also Michael Loux, Metaphysics: a contemporary introduction, chapter 5, and section 5 of Mark Sainsbury, 'Philosophical Logic' in A.Grayling, Philosophy: A Guide through the Subject.
Part II of S.Laurence and C.Macdonald, Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics
Part III of J.Kim and E.Sosa (eds), Metaphysics: An Anthology
Identity over time
M.Loux, Metaphysics: a contemporary introduction, chapter 6
S.Shoemaker, 'Identity, Properties and Causality', in his Identity, Cause and Mind
D.M.Armstrong, 'Identity through Time', in P.van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause
M.Johnston, 'Is there a Problem about Persistence'?, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 1987
D.Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds, pp. 202-206
P.van Inwagen, '4D Objects', Nous 1990
Part V of J.Kim and E.Sosa (eds), Metaphysics: An Anthology,
Universals and Properties
B.Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, chapters 9-10
D.M.Armstrong, Universals: An Opinionated Introduction
T.Crane, 'Universals', in A.Grayling (ed.), Philosophy: A Guide through the Subject
M.Loux, Metaphysics: a contemporary introduction, chapters 1&2
D.H.Mellor and A.Oliver (eds), Properties, is a very useful collection.
Part IV of J.Kim and E.Sosa (eds), Metaphysics: An Anthology
A.Bird, Philosophy of Science, chapter 3
D.H.Mellor, 'Natural Kinds' in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 28, 1977, pp. 299-312 and in his Matters of Metaphysics
H.Putnam, 'The Meaning of Meaning' in his Philosophical Papers, volume ii, 1975
J.Dupre, The Disorder of Things
, 'Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa' in Philosophical Review, 90, 1981, pp. 66-90