Metaphysics


Aristotle defines metaphysics as the study of being as being. Although there has been considerable subsequent disagreement about the meaning of this definition, and even more disagreement about what the subject matter of metaphysics really is, most philosophers would agree that metaphysicians are interested in something very basic. In this course, we are going to look at how one might attempt to describe the world, on this very basic level, in a broadly speaking Aristotelian framework. What is Change? How is it possible? What are the kinds of things that are capable of change? What is matter? What is physical extension? Why can’t, even in principle, two things be at the same place at the same time (or, can they?)?

2018 Spring syllabus
2019 Spring syllabus

Class Schedule, 2019 Spring

(updated: 1/8/2019)

Jan 10, Introduction, pre-test
Jan 15, Substratum/matter — Ryan Bax
Jan 17, Prime matter — Mark Johns
Jan 22, Matter and extension — Jesse Ochs
Jan 24, Subjects and substances — Joseph Nguyen
Jan 29, The veiled subject — John Paul Hartnedy
Jan 31, Cartesian substances — Chris Hoffmann
Feb 5, Lockean substances — Mitch Doerneman
Feb 7, Real accidents — Luis Contreras
Feb 12, Inherence — Dan Stump
Feb 19, Categories — Peter Pham
Feb 21, Quantity and extension
Feb 26, Impenetrability — Derek Probst
Feb 28, Mind and extension — Dominic Nguyen
Mar 5, Location — John Paul Hartnedy
Mar 12, Successive entities — Jesse Ochs
Mar 14, Real qualities — Mitch Doerneman
Mar 19, Primary qualities — Dominic Nguyen
Mar 28, Secondary qualities
Apr 2, Causal powers — Derek Probst
Apr 4, Substantial form — Mark Johns
Apr 9, Unity and dualism — Peter Pham
Apr 11, Parts and wholes — Chris Hoffmann
Apr 16, Real essences — Joseph Nguyen
Apr 23, Permanence and corruption — Dan Stump
Apr 25, Identity over time — Luis Contreras
Apr 30, Substance in Locke — Ryan Bax