PHIL 203 Metaphysics

Fall Semester 2013 | Day | Burnaby


INSTRUCTOR: P. Hanson, WMC 5658 (hanson at


On one conception, metaphysics is concerned with giving an adequate, illuminating, unified account of the most general ontological categories with which we characterize reality. Ontological categories that inform at least our pre-theoretic ways of looking at the world include: object, property, relation, event, process, fact, person, and maybe even reality tout court. Certain kinds of properties and relations also have central metaphysical importance, including: spatio-temporal, causal, and compositional relations; relations between language and reality; and modal properties and relations. This course is intended as an introductory survey of metaphysics so conceived, in which we shall also pay particular attention to issues concerning the identity, individuation, and continuity through change of physical objects in time on the one hand; and issues concerning the identity, individuation, and continuity through multiple instantiations of properties in space on the other.


  • What Is This Thing Called Metaphysics? 2nd Edition; Brian Garrett, Routledge (2011). Background readings related to material in the text will also be made available.


  • 4 short papers - worth 25% each

 : One of PHIL 100, 150 or 151, or COGS 100.