Philosophy | Seminar in Metaphysics & Epistemology
P760 | 25 | 678 O'Connor

Topic: Objects in Space and Time

We will consider puzzles concerning the identity and persistence of
objects, which will also lead us to ask fundamental questions about
the nature of space and time. As is usual with the tangled ball of
yarn that is metaphysics, trying to get to the root of one issue will
require us, to some degree, to consider the rest. By the end of the
term, we will have thought to some degree about all of the following
topics: simples and 'gunk', material composition, boundaries and
(metaphysical?) vagueness, identity and essence, persistence through
change, persons among other objects,  truthmaking, causation, time,
time travel, space, hyperspace, and possibility/necessity.

This course has no prerequisites other than a hearty appetite
for 'grubbing around in the roots of being.' A couple words of fair
warning, however: If you are intuitions-challenged in matters
metaphysical, as some otherwise respectable philosophers claim to be,
you may find yourself quite bewildered throughout much of our course.
And do mind that we'll be doing our ontology from an unabashedly
realist point of view.  We will strictly enforce a course ban on
swirling together epistemological and metaphysical theses into an
unwholesome brew. Please bring along some quarters to the first few
sessions until you are confident you understand the content of the
ban, and so are no longer in danger of having to pay a fine for
inadvertently violating it.

We will read two books along with a few supplemental articles. Each
are beautifully clear and are argued with both care and flair.

Ted Sider, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time
(Oxford, 2001)
Hud Hudson, The Metaphysics of Hyperspace (Oxford, 2005)

Members of the seminar will be asked to write weekly informal
commentaries on the readings (in advance of our seminar discussion)
and a medium-sized paper in two drafts.