Spring 2022 - PHIL 203 D100

Metaphysics (3)

Class Number: 7318

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 3533, Burnaby

    Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    WMC 3253, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2022
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 3154, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    One of PHIL 100W (or equivalent), 120W (or equivalent), 121, 144, 150, 151, or COGS 100.



An examination of central problems of metaphysics such as space and time, universals and particulars, substance, identity and individuation and personal identity.


Metaphysics is the study of the basic components of the world and their relation to one another. The aim of this course is to give students a rigorous introduction to a set of key metaphysical positions and arguments that shape historical and contemporary philosophical discourse. We shall begin by inquiring about the method of metaphysics: what is the job of a metaphysical theory? We shall look at Quine’s influential answer to this question and several critiques of Quine’s view. With this methodological question in the background, we shall then examine a core set of metaphysical topics, including identity, modality, the relation between mind and body, causation, free will and the metaphysics of race and gender. We shall read pieces by Lewis, Kripke, Adams, Fine, Schaffer, Kim and others and we shall occasionally seek out the historical roots of the primarily contemporary positions we discuss in philosophers like Leibniz and Hume.


PHIL 203 is a required course for the for the Philosophy Major and the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate


  • The Levels: a series of short writing assignments done throughout the semester 30%
  • One term paper 35%
  • A final exam 35%


Course delivery: in person.



Alyssa Ney, Metaphysics: An Introduction. , Routledge, ISBN-13: 978-0-415-64075-6
All other readings will be made available to the students via the SFU library website or through Canvas.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project for 2021 and Spring 2022. List of exclusions for the new policy. Specifically for Philosophy: 

  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any requirement for a major, joint major, honours, or minor in Philosophy (with the exception of Honours tutorials).
  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any prerequisite requirement for any PHIL course.
  • Students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any requirement for the Ethics Certificate, or the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate.
  • Philosophy Majors and Honours students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any WQB requirement.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.