Fall 2023 - PHIL 203 D100

Metaphysics (3)

Class Number: 5745

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 10:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 8, 2023
    Fri, 11:59–11:59 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    One of PHIL 100, 100W, 120, 120W, 121, 144, 150, 151, 300, 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.


This course provides an introduction to the field of Metaphysics and an overview of several main areas within Metaphysics. This course is designed for students who have already had at least one introductory philosophy course, and to prepare students for work at the 3xx level in Philosophy. We will cover a range of topics in metaphysics, historical and contemporary. Topics are likely to include time, personal identity, and metaphysics of social categories such as race or gender. Readings will be made available in PDF form on Canvas, or available for download from the library; there is no textbook. The focus in assessment will be on improving student writing skills, especially with respect to conciseness and precision, and developing paper writing skills to scaffold into original paper writing after completion. There will be short in-class writing assignments once per week, of which students will be graded on their highest 9 scores. These must be completed in the relevant class session and cannot be made up (this is why the top 9 scores are chosen; if students or ill or must miss that class for other reasons, it can be a dropped score).


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


  • In-class writing: there will be weekly short, in-class writing assignments, where the grade is calculated from the top 9 scores. 20%
  • Mid-length essays: partially completed in class. [note: these will involve separate components, such as submitting an outline, bringing an introduction for in-class workshopping, etc.. Each component will contribute to part of this overall % of the grade] 60%
  • Final Exam 20%


Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



All readings will be made available via Canvas or the SFU Library. Students are expected to bring the readings to class with them, either in printed out form or an easily scrollable device for reading (phones are generally insufficient for this purpose, as the screen is too small to move back and forth between sections of a reading at the pace of classroom discussion).


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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 philcomm@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.