Metaphysics is one of the most contested areas of philosophy. Different philosophers mean very different things by ‘metaphysics’, and a vast number of topics and questions are classified as ‘metaphysical’. While some philosophers regard metaphysics as the most fundamental philosophical discipline, others have rejected metaphysics as meaningless or misguided. In this class we will discuss a selection of classical and contemporary readings from Western philosophy addressing questions like: What is substance? Are there universals, or are there only particulars? Does everything that is exist in the same way, or are there different ways of being? Are the answers to any of these questions deep truths about the world, or are they really a matter of our social or linguistic conventions? Does natural science simply tell us the answers? (syllabus)

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