Fall 2022


Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-332


Joseph G. Moore (Section 01)


Metaphysics investigates the nature of reality at the most fundamental level. It asks basic questions about the nature of time, space, causation, change, composition, possibility, identity and existence. Among the questions we will encounter are: How does time pass? Is the present like a spotlight shining on events laid out in a fourth dimension? Causation is sometimes called the cement of the universe, but is it anything more than one thing regularly following another? Can there be backward causation? How about time travel? Is a statue identical to the lump of clay from which it is fashioned—after all, the same clay might have taken a different shape? Can things really change over time, or do they last for just a moment (or both)? Can you survive in a new body? Does redness exist independently of red things? Are things any more than bundles of properties? Are there merely possible things, like the symphony I never wrote in college? Or fictional entities, like Hermione Granger? Is there more than one type of existence? Metaphysics has been an especially vibrant area of philosophy in recent years, so we will read mostly contemporary work in the field.

Requisite: One course in PHIL. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Moore.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference to majors, Amherst seniors first, then juniors, etc.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations , group work and class participation

PHIL 332 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM COOP 201
W 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM COOP 201

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Riddles of existence : a guided tour of metaphysics Oxford University Press Conee, Earl Brink; Sider, Theodore Publication year: 2014 Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Fall 2022