Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code PHIL228
Coordinator Professor BF Dainton
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 15


To provide an introduction to some of the most significant debates in contemporary metaphysics;  topics include:  change and persistence, objects and properties, space and time.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to identify the main issues and positions in contemporary metaphysical discussions of space, time, persistence, properties, substance, persons, modality and existence.

(LO2) Students will be able to explain the main strengths and weaknesses of these positions.

(LO3) Students will be able to identify the historical contexts of some of these positions.

(LO4) Students will be able to construct a positive case for a specific metaphysical position, by appealing to theoretical virtues, e.g. simplicity, metaphysical principles, e.g. the principle of sufficient reason and thought experiments which evoke powerful intuitions.

(LO5) Students will further develop their abilities to extract arguments from texts, render them in standard form, and assess the soundness of their premises and the validity of their structures.

(LO6) Students will be able to think more creatively about metaphysical issues.

(LO7) Students will be able to explain the competing positions in contemporary meta-metaphysics.

(S1) Students will develop their skills in thinking critically, analysing problems and analysing and assessing arguments.

(S2) Students will enhance their ability to identify the issues with truly underlie debates.

(S3) Students will enhance their ability to think creatively in constructing solutions to problems.

(S4) Students will develop their ability to marshal arguments, and present them orally and in writing.

(S5) Students will develop and enhance their ability to work effectively and independently.

(S6) Students will become more self-disciplined, and intellectually self-sufficient.



Metaphysics: what is it?
Substance and Persistence
Persons and Selves
Why Anything
Truth and Reality

Teaching and Learning Strategies

‘Standard’ delivery is campus-based. Hybrid/online variants are given below.

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture - Asynchronous online
Description: 11 x 1 hour lecture. Lectures are tutor-led activities, offering a map of the syllabus and a framework for independent enquiry-led research. Students are encouraged to engage actively with lectures through, for example: (i) taking opportunities to ask questions during the session; (ii) reflecting on and responding to questions posed to them; (iii) producing questions and notes on issues for subsequent group discussion in seminars.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2 - Seminar - Synchronous (online or on campus as required)
Description: 11 x 1 hour seminar. Seminars are formative spaces of applied and enquiry-led learning based on pre-set readings and facilitated by the tutor. Seminars thus offer opportunities for students to respond to tutor- and peer-set questions, deepen understanding, apply ideas, develop arguments and build confidence through group discussion. One or two students take the lead each week through peer-teaching, delivering presentations based on their own enquiries and identification of questions and issues.
Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 11


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 128


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 3 If hybrid/online, the exam will be take-home, submitted digitally. There is a resit opportunity. This is an anonymous assessment.  24    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 1 This is not an anonymous assessment. Reassessment opportunity: Yes    10       
Assessment 2 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.    30       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.