University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Metaphysics 1: Ontology

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unity primarily serves as an introduction to Aristotle's Metaphysics by focusing on the main problems of Part One (Books Alpha to Epsilon). In addition, throughout the study-unit students are familiarised with the history of metaphysics and the diverse questions posed by various philosophers ranging from empiricists and rationalists, such as Hume and Kant, to thinkers who espoused an anti-metaphysical viewpoint as portrayed by the logical positivists and Heidegger. The study-unit seeks to elucidate how issues regarding causality, the nature of existence and the meaning of substance were tackled and explained by different methodologies and approaches.

Study-unit Aims

The study-unit aims to introduce students to the basic concepts underlying metaphysical discourse.

Learning Outcomes
1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(i) demonstrate a historical understanding of the nature of metaphysics and of the denials of its possibility;
(ii) explore ancient and modern questions about the meaning of existence;
(iii) comprehend the basic categories of Aristotle’s world-pictures;
(iv) confront the 'classical' concepts with those of 'modern' (Descartes to Hegel) and 'contemporary' philosophy and science.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(i) explain the concepts that belong to the discourse of metaphysics;
(ii) evaluate the various theories;

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Aristotle, Metaphysics.
Burrell, D. (1973) Analogy and Philosophical Language, Yale University Press.
Harré, R. (1975) and Madden E.H, Causal Powers, Blackwell.
Von Wright, G.H (1974) Causality and Determinism, Columbia University Press.
Dummett, M., Frege.
Lazerowitz, M. and Ambrose, A. (1985) Necessity and Language, Croom Helm, London.
Lucas, J.R. (1989) The Future. Blackwell: Oxford.
Polkinghorne, J.(1993) Science and Creation, SPCK, London. (Important Chapters 1 – 4).
Brown, M. (1991) The Romance of Reason, St. Bede’s Publications, Petersham, Massachusetts, USA. (Important Chapters: 1, 2).


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mark Sultana

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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