Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Metaphysics attempts to formulate, clarify and answer the basic and most general questions about the world, such as: What really exists? Do souls, numbers and God exist? What are time and space? What are cause and effect? What do we say when we say that some truths are necessary and others only contingent? Do we have free will? What is a law of nature? A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the first principles of reality. This course will provide students with an overview of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in metaphysics. The main topics are chosen from contemporary philosophy, but we will often discuss philosophical works from the past.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course students should have good knowledge of the key Because concepts, arguments and positions in metaphysics.


After completing the course the student should be able to: - identify strengths and weaknesses at various positions in metaphysics (eg. realism v. nominalism, determinism v. indeterminism, causality, comaptibilism v. incompatibilsm about free will, etc.) - identify relevant arguments and principles of metaphysics (e.g., the causal closure principle) - reading metaphysical articles and books on an relatively high academic level - continue studies in metaphysics at Master level


The course provides a basis for further studies aimed at the bachelor's degree with a specialization in philosophy. In combination with other courses the student will be eligible for the teaching of philosophy in secondary school or upper secondary school. The course may also be suitable to support specialization in fundamental questions in connection with the study of other subjects.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring in even years
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Approved first semester studies. Specialized study courses presuppose good background knowledge in philosophy, and students should normally have finished their exams in all 100-level cumpolsary courses. A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.
Access to the Course
The course is open to students admitted at the University of Bergen
Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is offered in the form of lectures and/or seminars.

Guidance of semester assignment: guidance is a voluntary offer and can occur individually or in groups.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

Approved short paper (900 - 1200 words) in topic given by teatcher

Forms of Assessment

A semester assignment paper of 3000- 5000 words (not including table of contents, list of references etc.) The topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the teacher of the course. The semester assignment paper will be assessed at the end of the semester.

The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

Assessment in a semester without teaching follows the syllabus the previous semester the course had teaching

Grading Scale
From A to F
Course Evaluation
The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.