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Advanced Introduction to Metaphysics

Advanced Introductions are a new form of Hauptseminar, specifically for Master Degree students (though BA students can participate with the consent of the course organizer).

These courses are intended to prepare students for engagement in independent research within a particular field of philosophy. As such, the topics and reading will be demanding, and students are expected to have at least working knowledge of the relevant basic topics prior to attendance.

In this course, we will examine modern classics and cutting-edge research in Metaphysics. Specific topics may include: causation, universals, natural kinds, time & space, identity, persistence, indeterminacy, modality, ontological commitment, realism vs. anti‑realism, and meta-metaphysics.

A special feature of this course, along with Prof. Schnieder’s Advanced Introduction to Philosophy of Language, is its coordination with the Institutskolloquium: throughout the semester, Colloquium speakers whose research overlaps with the topics of our seminar will present their current work.

Please see the course syllabus for further information.


Topic I: Essence & Modality

  • 22 October –Fine, K. 1994. ‘Essence and modality’, Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16
  • 29 October – Moved to 14:00-16:00, 31 October. Correia, F. 2012. ‘On the Reduction of Necessity to Essence’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84: 639-53
  • 31.October – Prof. Fabrice Correia (Neuchâtel): Logical Grounds

Topic II: Time

  • 5 November – Selections from Mellor, H. 1998. Real Time II, Routledge.
  • 12 November – Briggs, R. & Forbes, G. (2012) ‘The Real Truth about the Unreal Future’, in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 7, Oxford University Press

Topic III: Material Objects: Persistence & Composition

  • 19 November – CANCELLED
  • 26 November – Hawthorne, J. 2006. ‘Three-dimensionalism’, in his Metaphysical Essays, Oxford University Press.
  • 3 December – Selections from Van Inwagen, P. 1990. Material Beings, Cornell University Press.
  • 10 December – Moved to 10:00-12:00, 13 December. Sattig, T. (Forthcoming) TBA (on problem of the many).
  • 12. December. Prof. Thomas Sattig (Tübingen): Three Conceptions of Modality De Re

Topic IV: Dispositions

  • 17 December – Martin, C. B. 1994. ‘Dispositions and Conditionals’, Philosophical Quarterly 44: 1–8; Lewis, D. 1997. ‘Finkish Dispositions’, Philosophical Quarterly 47: 143–158
  • 7 January – Moved to 14:00-16:00, 9 January. Vetter, B. (Forthcoming). ‘Dispositions without the Stimulus’.
  • 9. January. Prof. Barbara Vetter (Berlin): Dispositionen und die Rolle sprachlicher Intuitionen in der Philosophie

Topic V: Metametaphysics

  •  14 January – Yablo, S. 1998. ‘Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?’, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 72 (1):229 – 261
  •  21 January – Fine, K. 2001. ‘The question of realism,’ Philosophers’ Imprint 1 (2):1-30
  •  28 January – NOTE: The reading for this week has changed! See the readings page above for the new article.