Philosophy | Special Topics in Philosophy
P470 | 3378 | O'Connor
This course meets with P310.
Metaphysics is that branch of philosophy which considers the basic types of
constituents of reality. I t asks - in very general terms - what those entities are
like intrinsically and how they "hang together." (Truth to tell, it's the very root of
the philosophical enterprise, since if you push any philosophical question hard
enough, you'll find yourself doing metaphysics.)
More particularly, our questions will be these:
Is reality a unity, in some basic way, or is it just a collection of a whole lot of
Can we speak properly of the way the world is, objectively, independently of
how e may happen to think about it?
What is the fundamental nature of the physical world?
What is the fundamental nature of mind?
Why is the world the way it is, and not some other way? (Why does anything
exist at all?)
Turning then to a particular aspect of reality that we're all keenly interested in -
ourselves - we'll also ask:
Is there reason to posit a design or purpose behind our existence?
What kind of things are we?
Am I the same person as the little rug rat my parents called by my name
twenty-five years ago? In virtue of what is this true?
(Come to think of it - and we will think about it - what grounds the supposed
persistence of an inanimate physical object through various adventures?)
What could it possibly mean to freely choose from among a range of options?
(Do we have this capacity, supposing there could be such a thing?)