Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Two of the biggest areas in philosophy are the nature of reality and we can know it. The first, called metaphysics, is concerned with the study of the most general features of reality, such as existence, time, objects and their properties, events, processes, and causation. Questions in this area may include: What is the relationship between mind and body? Is freedom of action consistent with everything's having a cause? In what sense do numbers exist? The second, called epistemology, is concerned with what it is to know anything, and how (if at all) we can acquire this knowledge. Questions in this may area include: Does all our substantive knowledge about the world come from our senses, or are there other means by which we can find things out? What is scientific method, and is it any more trustworthy than other techniques other cultures have used to find out about the world? How can we tell good arguments from bad?


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Knowledge and understanding of the issues addressed and approaches taken by philosophers in discussing the nature of reality and knowledge.

2. To impart critical skills to deal with these issues and employ these approaches in their thinking about what it is rational to believe.

3. Develop high-level written and oral skills in understanding and presenting philosophical issues concerned with the nature of reality and knowledge.

4. Develop an understanding and appreciation of the ways in which metaphysics and epistemologyin both their classical and contemporary forms bears upon the claims made in the society at large.


This course introduces students to classical and contemporary discussions in metaphysics and epistemology. The course has two parts. In any year, topics from one or more of the following areas may be discussed:

  • (a) Metaphysics: the existence of material objects, causation, philosophical problems of space and time, problems of the self, other minds and the nature and existence of moral properties.
  • (b) Epistemology: the nature and sources of justification and knowledge, the structure and growth of justification and knowledge, the prospects for knowledge in science, morality and religion, and responses to various forms of skepticism.

Assumed knowledge

At least 10 units of PHIL courses at 1000 level or 40 units of any other course at any level.

Assessment items

Essay: Essay 1

Essay: Essay 2