The Dennes Room

Philosophy 125

Fall 2006

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
125 Metaphysics Code MWF 3-4 213 Wheeler

Course Requirements: two papers and a final exam. Required Text: : Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics, edited by S, Lawrence & C. Macdonald (Blackwell: 1998). This course will survey some of the main issues discussed by contemporary analytic philosophers in connection with fundamental questions about ontological commitment. We will start by considering what it is for a person or a theory to be committed to the existence of something. This will lead naturally to an inquiry into the status of possible objects and worlds, abstractions and properties, substances, events and individual nonrecurrent unit properties (tropes). The lectures will assume familiarity with the following readings from the text:

(I) METHODOLOGY & ONTOLOGICAL COMMITMENT:

Introduction: Metaphysics and Ontology [Laurence & Macdonald, 1-7] The Nature of Metaphysics [van Inwagen, 11-21 Descriptive & Revisionary Metaphysics [Haack, 22-31] On What There Is [Quine, 32-45] Ontological Commitments [Alston, 46-54] Quantifiers [Haack, 55-68]

(II) POSSIBLE WORLDS & POSSIBILIA:

Possible Worlds & Possibilia [Lycan, 83-95] Possible Worlds [Lewis, 96-102] Possible Worlds [Stalnaker, 103-116] Ways Worlds Could Be [Forrest, 117-127]

(III) UNIVERSALS & PROPERTIES:

Universals & Properties [Bealer, 131-147] On Properties [Putnam, 148-162] New Work for a Theory of Universals [Lewis, 163-197] Against Structural Universals [Lewis,198-218] A Theory of Structural Universals [Bigelow & Pargetter, 219-229]

(IV) SUBSTANCES:

Beyond Substrata & Bundles [Loux, 233-247] Bare Particulars [Allaire, 248-254] Particulars Re-Clothed [Chappell, 255-258] Another Look at Bare Particulars [Allaire, 259-263] Three Versions of the Bundle Theory [Van Cleve, 264-274]

(V) EVENTS: Ontologies of Events [Lombard, 277-294] The Individuation of Events [Davidson, 295-309] Events as Property Exemplifications [Kim, 310-326]

(VI) TROPES: Tropes & Other Things [Macdonald, 329-350] The Metaphysics of Abstract Particulars [Campbell, 351-363] Three Trope Theories of Substance [Simmons, 364-384]

Previously taught: SP06, FL03.