Metaphysics - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay 1 - Short Essay (30%) , Essay 2 (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 798.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,048.00

This unit examines both traditional topics in metaphysics as well as metaphysical topics in other areas in philosophy. The first half of the unit is structured around traditional topics such as causation, free will, laws of nature, personal identity, mental states, and time. Some of the questions we will look at are: Do we have free will or are our actions determined by the laws of nature? How does the mind relate to the brain? Will my personal identity persist over time? What is the nature of time? Does time flow or is it static? The second half of the unit is devoted to a critical examination of metaphysical topics in other areas in philosophy such as philosophy of art, philosophy of technology, and philosophy of religion. Some of the questions we will look at are: What defines a work of art? How can we distinguish between a work of art and an artifact? What is the nature of virtual entities and how do they differ from physical entities? Does God exist?

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an awareness of central problems in Metaphysics
  2. understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literature
  3. critically evaluate these theories and arguments
  4. develop your own view or perspective through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the unit, and present your own views with clarity and rigour
  5. develop clarity of thought; clarity of written expression and exposition.
  • Essay 1 — Short Essay (30%)
  • Essay 2 (40%)
  • Participation (15%)
  • Quizzes (15%)

You must complete some Level 1 and 2 studies before starting this unit. Prior study in Philosophy is recommended.

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1What is Metaphysics
3Free will and determinism
4Laws of Nature
5Personal Identity
6Mental States
8Material Objects
11Virtual Reality

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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