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Phil 340

time chair
Knowledge and Reality II
This course provides an introduction to analytic metaphysics. It is about the 'reality' half of Knowledge and Reality. Analytic metaphysics can be described as a kind of rigorous enquiry into the nature of reality.
We’ll focus on the following topics: Time, Necessity, Realism and Idealism, Being, and Universals.
The course provides tools for critical thinking about some very long-standing, and quite abstract, questions; for example: Does time really “flow”? What is the difference between the things that have to be and the things that merely happen to be? And: Does there exist such a thing as the property of being square, in addition to all the square things?
As these sample questions suggest, the subject matter of this course is chosen for its pure intellectual interest rather than applicability to other areas of life, though the critical reasoning skills honed in these abstract investigations are applicable in many other areas of thought and enquiry.

Readings and Slides

Lecture 3 reading 
(chapter 1 only)

Lectures 6 reading 
(section 1.1 only)

Lecture 7 reading:
same as for lecture 6
Lecture 7 slides:
second half of lecture 6

Lecture 8 reading 
(focus on pp. 212-215)

Lecture 9 reading 
(requires UBC library login)

Lecture 10 reading 
(Book II, chapter VIII)

Lecture 11 reading 
(First Dialogue)

Lecture 16 reading:
same as for lecture 15
Lecture 16 slides:
second half of lecture 15


Lecture 19 reading:
Plato's Parmenides 
(130e - 133a)

Lecture 20 reading:
(UBC provides hardcopy access only)
Chapter 5 (Universals as Attributes), sections 1-5 inclusive

Lecture 21 reading
(chapter 2 only)

Additional Resources