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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

We will consider what philosophers have to say on two topics. First, is consciousness reducible to some kind of brain state, or some other physical state of cognitive beings? (We will focus on some recent arguments in metaphysics that suggest the answer is ‘no’.) Second, what is the relation between a person and their body? In particular, we will consider whether a person could survive the destruction of their body; whether two people could inhabit the same body; and whether we two distinct things, if we are both human beings and persons? 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No

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Course Description

It's pretty difficult to explain in general terms what Metaphysics is or what metaphysicians do. Here's why. Firstly, Metaphysics is a very wide ranging subject, covering topics as diverse as the existence of God, the nature of space and time, and the relationship between mind and body. Secondly, what metaphysicians do can seem a little strange. They spend much of their time attempting to answer questions like 'are there numbers'?, 'do we have free will'?, or 'is the future real'? You might legitimately think that these questions don't really make much sense. What do questions like 'are there numbers'? or 'is the future real'? even mean? You might also wonder why philosophers think they can answer questions that seem more suited to mathematicians or scientists.Given the diversity and the apparent oddity of metaphysics (and metaphysicians), it is best to focus on some specific examples of the debates metaphysicians engage in. In this way, we can see how the discipline works in detail, and thus (I hope) get an idea of what metaphysics is more generally, and of what metaphysicians are trying to do. In particular, we shall focus on debates including: the nature of causation, the reality (or otherwise) of time, the possibility that we do not have any free will, and the question of what it is to be a person.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt: One 2,500 word essay (50%) plus 1 two-hour written examination (50%). Resit: 2,500 word essay.

Formative Assessment

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Course Learning Outcomes


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