[FE 2092]  Metaphysics II

Semester II
wednesday 10:30 - 11:15
friday 08:30 - 10:15

Course Information

Professor: HOLTZ, Dominic
Email: [email protected]
Language: English

ECTS: 5
Schedule:
Semester II
wednesday 10:30 - 11:15
friday 08:30 - 10:15

Content

The famous philosopher W.V. Quine once suggested that the fundamental question of ontology could be summed up with three Anglo-Saxon words, “What is there?” Perhaps we could do him better and suggest that the subject of first philosophy, or wisdom, or metaphysics is really only two words, viz. “What is?” In this course, we will continue the foundational work of the first semester. Beginning with Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and specifically Books Theta, we will review crucial themes in Aristotle’s metaphysics, especially his account of substance, and proceed to his account of actuality (and potentiality). We will then pass to the crucial feature of Lambda, namely the possibility (and necessity) of immaterial substance, and Aristotle’s metaphysical argument for the necessity of God. Building on this foundation, we will consider two Medieval arguments for the necessity of God’s existence — that of Anselm of Canterbury in his Proslogion, and that of Thomas Aquinas in his Summa theologiæ.

In the second portion of the semester, we will engage important themes in contemporary, analytic (i.e. Anglo-American) metaphysics. In particular, we will consider questions about the (non-)existence of God, modality (and the nature of “possible worlds”), the problem of identity, the meaning of time, and the problem of fatalism.

Bibliography

BIBLIOGRAPHY: ANSELM, St. Anselm's Proslogion with A Reply on Behalf of the Fool by Gaunilo and the Author's Reply to Gaunilo, Trans. by M.J. Charlesworth (Oxford University Press, 1965 [Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1979, reprint]); ARISTOTLE, Metaphysics; David LEWIS, "The Paradoxes of Time Travel," American Philosophical Quarterly 13:2 (1976): 145-152; J.L. MACKIE, "Evil and Omnipotence," Mind 64 (1955): 200-212; J. Ellis McTAGGART, "The Unreality of Time," Mind 17 (1908): 457-474; William L. ROWE, "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism," American Philosophical Quarterly 16:4 (1979): 335-341; Richard TAYLOR, "Fate," Metaphysics, Third Edition (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983), 51-62; THOMAS AQUINAS, Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics; THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa theologiæ I.2; Stephen John WYKSTRA, "Rowe's Noseeum Arguments from Evil," The Evidential Argument from Evil (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996), 126-150.