Fridays, 10-12a.m., room 280
14/2/03: Carving Up Reality, slides,
21/2/03: The Existence of God,
28/2/03: Event Causation,
7/3/02: Agent Causation,
Come back to this page, I shall update it regularly.
On Wednesday, 26 February, 10am, and Monday, 3 March, 10am, we meet in
room 280 for discussion.
You can contact me at any time by or telephone (645-2444-119), or come
to my office, room 119 (Corcoran's office). Feel free to ask question, discuss,
etc., that's why I am here. I am here till 9 March.
Write two essays, answering questions from the list below, or choose
another question and contact me. The first one to warm up, not more than 2000
words; as soon as possible, at the latest till 25 February. The second one not
more than 3000 words, if possible till 4 March, so that I have time to discuss
it with you (I leave on 9 March). If that is too soon for you let me know. If
you have time to write only one essay let me know.
Guidelines for essays
- Answer the question head on.
- Dont start with Already Plato
- Dont write anything that is not relevant for the defence of
- Be concise!
1. Carving up reality; things and properties;
Are the properties of particular things themselves particular?
Are some ways of carving up reality better than other ones?
On the question of how to carve up reality see Campbell 1990 and Wachter
2000 (see below). (On "determinate conditions of diachronic identity" see: Lowe
1995 "The Metaphysics of Abstract Objects", JP 92, 511; and Lowe 1994
"Primitive Substances", PPR 54, 533.)
Some relevant texts you find in Metaphysics anthologies, e.g. ed. van
Inwagen, ed Kim, ed. Laurence. See my metaphysics reading list.
- Armstrong, David M. 1989. Universals: An Opinionated Introduction.
Boulder: Westerview Press. (More sophisticated is his A World of States of
- Campbell, Keith. 1990. Abstract Particulars. Oxford:
Blackwell, especially chs. 1, 2, and 4. If you don't find this read Campbell
in: Mellor & Oliver, 1997, Properties (Oxford Readings in
- Simons, Peter. 1994. Particulars in Particular Clothing: Three Trope
Theories of Substance. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
- Smith, 1997,
Substances, Accidents and Universals: In Defence of a Constituent Ontology,
in: Philosophical Papers, 26, 105-127.
- Loux, Michael J. 1998. Metaphysics: A Contemporary
Introduction. London: Routledge, ch. 3, also chs 1, 2, 6.
- Williams, 1953, On the Elements of Being, in: Review of Metaphysics,
7, 3-18 & 171-192.
- Lowe, 1994, Primitive Substances, in: Philosophy and Phenomenological
Research, 54, 531-552.
- Wachter, Daniel v. 2000. A World of Fields. In Things, Facts and
Events (Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities,
vol. 76), edited by J. Faye, U. Scheffler and M. Urchs. Amsterdam and Atlanta:
Rodopi, 305-325, DOC,
- Newman, 1992, The Physical Basis of Predication.
- Denkel, 1996, Object and Property.
- Swinburne, 1994, The Christian God, ch. 1.
2. The Existence of God
A good introduction is: R. Swinburne, Is There a God. (More
rigorous is his The Existence of God)
Is the existence of the universe evidence for the existence of God? Is
the order in the universe evidence for the existence of God? Does the existence
of evil in the world show that there is no God? Can religious experience
For references see my philosophy of religion reading list (DOC; HTML), topics 6-8.
3. Event causation
What is it for one thing to cause another? Do causes necessitate their
effects? Is causation analysable?
- Cartwright, N., "Causation", in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Crane, T., "Causation", in Grayling (ed.), 184-194.
- Swinburne, 1997, The Irreducibility of Causation, in: Dialectica, 51,
- Kim and Sosa, 1999, Metaphysics: An Anthology, part VII.
- Swinburne, 1994, The Christian God, ch. 3.
- Further: Armstrong, 1983, What Is a Law of Nature?. Sosa and
Tooley, 1993, Causation (Oxford Readings in Philosophy).
4. Agent causation
Are all causes events? Are there two kinds of causation? Do free actions
involve a different kind of causation than non-free actions?
See my: 2002, "Agent Causation: Before and After the Ontological Turn",
Proceedings of the International Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg, August 2002
- Chisholm, Roderick. 1976. The Agent as Cause. In Action
Theory, edited by M. Brand and D. Walton. Dordrecht: Reidel, 199-211.
(Probably reprinted in some collections)
- Swinburne, Richard. 1997. The Evolution of the Soul (Revised
Edition). Oxford: Clarendon Press, ch. 5.
- O'Connor, Timothy. 2000. Persons and Causes. Oxford UP.
- van Inwagen, Peter. 2000. Free Will Remains a Mystery. In
Philosophical Perspectives, 14: Action and Freedom, edited by J. E. Tomberlin.
Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 1-19 (only the sections about agent
- Clarke, Randolph. 1996. Agent Causation and Event Causation in the
Production of Free Action. Philosophical Topics 24:19-48.
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