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Introduction to Metaphysics

Course Description

This course serves as an introductory survey of metaphysics, with an emphasis on contemporary analytic readings and topics. Broadly construed, metaphysics concerns the most general questions one can ask about the world and our place in it. For example, we might ask about what sorts of entities exist – do medium sized concrete objects like people, tables, and chairs? What about more abstract entities like universals, numbers, and fictional characters? Relatedly, we can inquire after the various features of these things: assuming that tables do exist, what’s the relationship between a table and the various micro-objects that make it up? And how do such things persist through time? Of course, we can also ask general questions about the structure of reality. So, given the above, we might ask: just what is time, anyway? Does time flow, with moments moving from future, to present, to past, or is that just a product of our perception? Is time travel possible? If it is, can I go back in time and change the past? And what exactly does ‘can’ mean here? Here, we’ll aim to address many of these questions. As this is an introductory seminar, prior familiarity with metaphysical concepts is not presupposed. However, students are expected to have a basic grasp of logic and logic notion (as would be conferred by having attended the Einfuehrung in die Logik course).

Course Materials

Further Materials

Regarding writing philosophy papers, I strongly suggest following:

Further, the following German texts – all written by Christian Folde – are all useful: