Master Topic in Metaphysics

Postgraduate 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
Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor degree with 90 credits specializing in philosophy or equivalent.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
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
This course is open to students who have been admitted to the Master's programme in philosophy. All other students require permission in order to register for this course. Please contact to apply.
Teaching and learning methods

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

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.

Submission of a draft of the semester assignment paper before supervision.

Supervision of the semester assignment.

Submission of a short assignment at 900-1200 words. The topic is given by the teacher. Deadline is set by the department. The assignment must be approved to be able to take the exam.

Forms of Assessment

A supervised semester assignment paper of 4000- 6000 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.

The compulsory requirements have to be formally approved in a semester in which there is teaching in the relevant course in order to register for the examination in a semester in which there is no teaching in that course.

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