PHIL 354/554: Metaphysics Spring 2008
MWF 10am (Dane Smith Hall room 234)
Instructor: Richard Hayes
Office: Humanities 525 Office hours: MF 2:00-3:00pm Or by appointment
Telephone: 277-8232

Course description

There are numerous definitions of metaphysics, both by people who favor it and those who oppose it. The principal topics to be examined in this course will be the problems of universals, particulars, possible worlds, the nature of time, endurance through time and realism versus anti-realism. As the course progresses we shall from time to time ponder what common threads these topics have.


The following textbook has been ordered and should be available at the UNM bookstore. It may be less expensive to order it through (To do so, click on link below.)
Michael J. Loux, Metaphysics: Contemporary Readings (Routledge Contemporary Readings in Philosophy) London and New York: Routledge, 2001.

Basis for grading for PHIL 354

Grades will be based on four essays. Essays worth 20% should be 4-5 pages in length, and essays worth 30% should be 6-7 pages. The distribution of the marks will be as follows.

Assignment Date Due Percentage
First essay February 2230%
Second essay March 24 20%
Third essay April 11 20%
Fourth essay May 9 30%
Total 100%

Basis for grading for PHIL 554

Each graduate student will be expected to do one in-class presentation and three written essays. No written essay will be required for the topic on which an in-class presentation is made. All four assignments will be of equal weight. The written papers should be 8-10 pages in length.

Assignment Date Due Percentage
Universals and particulars February 2525%
Possible worlds March 24 25%
Time April 9 25%
Persistence through time or Realism/Anti-realismMay 9 25%
Total 100%

1  Schedule of topics and readings

Date Topics and reading
Jan 23 Overview of course and brief history of metaphysics
25 Topics in Aristotle's Metaphysics
28 An overview of universals
30 Bertrand Russell "The world of universals"
Feb 1 H. H. Price, "Universals and resemblances"
4 W. V. O. Quine, "On what there is"
6 D. C. Williams, "The elements of being"
8 David Armstrong, "Universals as attributes"
11 An overview on particulars
13 Max Black, "The identity of indiscernibles"
15 Edwin B. Allaire, "Bare particulars"
18 James Van Cleve, "Three versions of the bundle theory"
20 Albert Casullo, "A fourth version of the bundle theory"
22 Indian philosophers on universals and particulars
First undergraduate essay due
25 A historical overview of possible-world semantics
27 David Lewis, "Possible worlds"
29 Alvin Plantinga, "Actualism and possible worlds"
3 Plantinga
5 David Lewis, "Counterparts or double lives?" (1 & 2)
7 Lewis (3)
10 Kripke, "Identity and necessity"
12 Kripke
14 Kripke
24 An overview of the issues of time (and space)
Second undergraduate essay due
26 J. M. E. McTaggart, "Time"
28 C. D. Broad, "Ostensible temporality"
31 Richard Taylor, "Time and eternity"
Apr 2 A. N. Prior, "The notion of the present"
4 J. J. C. Smart, "The space-time world"
7 D. H. Mellor, "The need for tense"
9 Mark Heller, "Temporal parts of four-dimensional objects" (1-4)
11 Heller, (4-8)
Third undergraduate essay due
14 Trenton Merricks, "Endurance and indiscernibility" (I-II)
16 Merricks, (III-VIII)
18 Derek Parfit, "Personal identity"
21 Parfit
23 David Lewis, "Survival and identity"
25 Lewis
28 Richard Swinburne, "Personal identity: the dualist theory"
30 Swinburne
May 2 Michael Dummett, "Realism"
5 W. V. Quine, "Ontological relativity"
7 Hilary Putnam, "A problem about reference"
9 Peter Van Inwagen, "Objectivity"
Fourth essay due

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.67.
On 21 Nov 2007, 14:19.