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Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 272: Metaphysics

PHIL 272: Metaphysics

The Generic Catalog Description

This course will take up basic questions about reality and inquire into fundamental principles by which the nature of reality can be coherently explained. An analysis of issues such as: the nature of being and existence; the principles in terms of which anything (e.g., physical and non-physical things, God) is said to be real; and the nature of the relations between things (e.g., space and time, mechanical and goal-directed causality).


PHIL 272: Metaphysics

James Blachowicz

Is there a knowledge of the nature of reality which is neither a material discipline like physics and sociology nor a formal discipline like logic and mathematics? We shall explore this question--the question of the very possibility of metaphysics--in two separate historical contexts.

In an ancient context, Parmenides first established a dichotomy of "knowledges" in which there was no room for metaphysics; Plato challenged this dichotomy (unsuccessfully, I think); Aristotle also challenged it and provided a more interesting argument for the legitimacy of metaphysics. In a modern context, these three roles were played (in an interesting historical parallel) by Hume, Kant and Hegel.

Typical Readings:
Parmenides: Poem
Plato: Parmenides, Sophist
Aristotle: Metaphysics
Hume: selections from his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Kant: selections from his Critique of Pure Reason
Hegel: preface from his Phenomenology of Spirit 


PHIL 272: Metaphysics

James Murphy

This general introduction explores the nature and scope of metaphysics.  It tackles: (1) Applied ontology, dealing with different categories of being or reality, and pure ontology, dealing with the nature of existence; (2) Issues (e.g. causality, mind/body, free will, person) important in, but not directly treated by, the sciences; (3) The metaphysical presuppositions of the sciences; (4) The big picture issues: the meaning of life, God, etc.  Issues of ontology (the real) will be distinguished from issues of semantics (the true) and issues of epistemology (knowledge and concepts). The relevance of the realism vs. idealism (constructionism) debate will also be treated.   

Typical readings:
Plato, Phaedo, Republic, Symposium.
Aristotle, Categories, Metaphysics.


PHIL 272:Metaphysics

Julie Ward

This course is devoted to reading foundational texts and thinkers in metaphysics, such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Hume. The topics covered include the nature of substance, mind, soul, causality, personal identity, free will and determinism.




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