Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit



Professor Graham Oppy



  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • First semester 2016 (Flexible)
  • Second semester 2016 (Flexible)
  • Summer semester A 2016 (Flexible)


The unit may be offered as part of the Summer Arts ProgramSummer Arts Program (http://www.monash.edu/students/courses/arts/summer-program.html).


Metaphysics studies the fundamental nature of reality, and this unit is designed to introduce all philosophy students to the major debates and issues in this broad area of philosophy. From semester to semester, the particular topics of focus may change, but will be drawn from the following: 1. Ontological commitment; Abstract objects; Modality; Composition and identity; Persistence through time; Causation; Dispositions and dispositional theories of value; Supervenience, reduction and levels in nature; Fundamentality.


Students completing this unit will:

  1. Have acquired sophisticated bibliographic skills which allow them to identify additional relevant contributions to philosophical problems in metaphysics.
  2. Be able to understand the use of logical notation commonly used in contemporary metaphysics (set theoretic symbols, modal operators)
  3. Be able to accurately summarise and succinctly evaluate articles written for professional philosophy journals in an in-class presentation.
  4. Within parameters that provide some initial guidance, be able to frame a more specific research question and address that question effectively in a longer essay.
  5. Have some acquaintance with the history of metaphysics and a deeper acquaintance with some particular debates of contemporary research focus.
  6. Have a highly developed understanding of the norms of philosophical writing.
  7. Have a highly developed understanding of the norms of philosophical discussion.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A cornerstone unit in Philosophy.