Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

The aims of the course are to:
- introduce the student into a number of metaphysical terms, theses, and
- introduce the student into a number of contemporary discussions about
these theses and problems, mainly in the broadly ‘analytical’ style.
- familiarize the student with a number of classic papers of the
contemporary metaphysical literature
- teach the student how to write a paper

Inhoud vak

The topics that shall be discussed in the course are:
- what is a substance or individual thing?
- the distinction between intrinsic and relational properties
- theories about time
- theories about universals
- the problem of identity across time
- what is "existence" (What sorts of things exist?)

WEEK 1: The most general features of the world (1)
Topics: substances; universals; intrinsic and relational properties;
metaphysical monism; Idealism.
Required reading
• Van Inwagen, chapters 1-3
Advised readings
• Russell, "The World of Universals" (Loux, chapter 1)
• René van Woudenberg & Kelvin McQueen, "Tests for Intrinsicness
Tested", Philosophical Studies 2016; available on Canvas)

WEEK 2: The most general features of the world (2)
Topics: the problem of the external world; objective and subjective
truth; time; arguments for the unreality of time.
Required reading
• Van Inwagen, chapters 4 and 5.
Advised reading
• René van Woudenberg, "True Qualifiers for Qualified Truths", Review of
• McTaggart, "Time"(Loux, chapter 19)
• Taylor, "Time and Eternity" (Loux, chapter 21)

WEEK 3: The metaphysics of the human person (1)
Topics: dualism; physicalism; identity through time;
Required reading
• Van Inwagen, chaps 10 and 11
• Parfit, "Personal Identity" (Loux, chapter 27)
Advised Reading
• Swinburne, "Personal Identity: The Dualist Theory" (Loux, chapter 29)

WEEK 4: The metaphysics of the human person (2)
Topics: free will; determinism
Required reading
• Van Inwagen, chapter 12
Advised reading
• René van Woudenberg, "On Freedom’s Mystery", Philosophica 2020.

WEEK 5: Existence
Topics: what is it to exist? Are there things that don’t exist? Is
existence a property?
Required reading
• Van Inwagen, Coda
• Lewis, "Possible Worlds" (Loux, chapter 10)
• Plantinga, "Actualism and Possible Worlds" (Loux, chapter 11)
Advised reading

WEEK 6: Why is there anything at all?
Topics: metaphysical necessity; design
Required reading
• Van Inwagen, chapters 6 and 7
• Swinburne
Advised reading
• René van Woudenberg & Jeroen de Ridder, "Desgn Hypotheses Behave Like
Skeptical Hypotheses (or: Why We Cannot Know that Design Hypotheses are
False)" (International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 2017;
available on Canvas)


Mondays: 10:00-12:45, room 5A-24 (Main Building)
Thursdays: 10:00-12:45, room 2A-24 (Main Building)


The final grade is calculated as follows:
• Written examination (50%)
• Final paper (50%)
• For every not submitted smaller assignment (plm. 500 words), the final
grade will be scaled down ½ a point

Format of the final 1.500 word paper:
1. Select a thesis from the literature
2. Criticize the view
3. Develop your own proposal


Required literature
• Peter van Inwagen, Metaphysics. 4th edition. Boulder CO: Westview
• Michael Loux (ed.), Metaphysics: Contemporary Readings. NY & London:

Advised readings
• Michael Loux and Thomas Crisp, Metaphysics. A Contemporary
Introduction. NY & London: Routledge, 2017.
• E.J. Lowe, A Survey of Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press,

Algemene informatie

Vakcode W_BA_MEEN
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P4
Vakniveau 300
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
Vakcoördinator prof. dr. R. van Woudenberg
Examinator prof. dr. R. van Woudenberg
Docenten prof. dr. R. van Woudenberg

Praktische informatie

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