Search results - Reality, Being and Existence: an Introduction to Metaphysics (Online)
|Type||Online and Distance Learning|
|Dates||Wed 11 Sep to Fri 22 Nov 2013|
|Application status||Applications being accepted|
|Course contact||If you have any questions about this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.|
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OverviewMetaphysics is the most general investigation into the nature of reality. It has been at the centre of philosophy since the beginning of the western tradition in ancient Greece, and many of its concerns are the same as those of Plato and Aristotle. This course will introduce you to some of the traditional concerns.
DescriptionAfter a brief introduction to the nature of metaphysics, the course will focus on five central and traditional metaphysical questions: do we have free will? What is the nature of the causal relation - cause and effect - that binds our world together? What is the nature of time? How does something (for example, a person) change and remain the same thing? Does reality contain universal features as well as particular entities?
Programme detailsThe areas you will cover in this course are:
Introduction: what is metaphysics? An introduction to the distinctive character of metaphysical questions: the history of the idea of metaphysics, understood as the most general and abstract inquiry into the nature of reality.
Existence: what is existence? What is it to exist? People disagree about what exists; but how can we understand this disagreement? Are there things which do not exist?
Universals and particulars: in addition to particular objects and events, our world seems to contain general or universal features of things, like their colours and their shapes. Is this an illusion or does the world really contain such features, known as ‘universals’?
Realism and idealism: does the world exist independently of our minds? Realism is the view that it does; idealism is the view that reality is mind-dependent. Are any features of the world mind-dependent?
The freedom of the will: we think our actions and decisions are free, or up to us, but this idea seems to be in conflict with the apparent fact that everything which happens is determined by what happens before it (this is known as ‘determinism’). Does determinism imply that free will is an illusion, or are free will and determinism really compatible after all?
Cause and effect: what is it for one thing to cause another, or to make something happen? Is there more to cause and effect than the mere regularity of things happening after one another? If so, is causation a physical process, or is mental causation also possible?
The nature of time and space: what are time and space? Is there no more to them than the temporal and spatial relations which hold between events and objects? Or should they rather be conceived as the ‘containers’ in which things exist and events occur? Are the past, present and future genuine aspects of reality, or are they merely ‘subjective’ features of our experience of time?
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.
Course aimsCourse Objectives:
• to introduce students to some of the central problems of the metaphysical tradition of Western philosophy;
• to introduce students to some central theories of metaphysics;
• to introduce students to the methods of metaphysical thinking.
CertificationThis course is accredited and you are expected to take the course for credit. To be awarded credit you must complete written contributions satisfactorily. Successful students will receive credit, awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The award will take the form of 10 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit will be issued to successful students.
Assessment methodsIn this course assessment is through one short written summary of about 500 words, plus a summary/essay of no more than 1000 words.
Level and demandsFHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 hours.
Recommended readingTo participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following paperback book:
• Crane, Tim, & Farkas, Katalin, (Editors), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology (OUP, Oxford, 2004)
You can, if you wish, purchase this textbook directly from Oxford University Press.
Teaching methodsThe majority of the course content will be delivered by textbook with assigned reading for each week. There are also suggestions for optional additional readings or online resources each week. Reading will be guided either by a brief statement or detailed notes.
Teaching outcomesBy the end of this course you will be able to understand:
• the nature of the six problems introduced in the course, and something of their historical background
• the main arguments for and against the various positions in the metaphysical debates under discussion
• the sources of metaphysical problems in general
By the end of this course you will be able to:
• recognise what counts as a reason for or against a metaphysical position
• criticise contemporary and classical metaphysical arguments and theories
• analyse certain difficult and historically important texts
- Programme Fee
- Home/EU Fee: £220.00
- Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Apply for this course
If you are unsure whether you are eligible to pay `Home/EU` or `Non-EU/overseas` fees, please read the UKCISA guidance notes to help establish your fee status.
You can apply for this course in the following ways:
- Apply online
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- Apply by post, email or fax
- Download a PDF application form .