Objects, Events and Knowledge

Subject PHIL20039 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 (2x 1 hour lectures each week and 1x 1 hour tutorial in weeks 2-12)
Total Time Commitment: an anverage of 8.5 hours per week
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: One of the following subjects is recommended:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2011
Not offered in 2011
Not offered in 2011
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/
Subject Overview: Students taking this subject will gain a firm grounding in contemporary metaphysics and epistemology, as well as an understanding of how these topics relate to areas outside philosophy. Our study of the subject will proceed via an examination of contemporary philosophers in the analytical tradition. Within metaphysics, we will read authors such as W.V.O. Quine, David Lewis, David Armstrong, Mark Johnston, Saul Kripke, Ted Sider, and Peter van Inwagen. We will begin with the provocative idea that there are no ordinary objects (e.g. no cars, trees, cats, or people). We will, then, look at various accounts of ordinary objects which aim to avoid this eliminativist objection. We will discuss how objects persist through time, whether two or more objects can occupy exactly the same spacetime, whether any random collection of objects automatically combine to form a larger object, how objects have the properties they do, and what events are. Within epistemology, we will read authors such as Ed Gettier, Alvin Goldman, Hilary Kornblith, W.V.O. Quine, Jim Pryor, and Ernest Sosa. We will explore such issues as: what is knowledge, what is it to possess knowledge of (or that) x, and what is justification (including: externalism v. internalism about justification).

On completing this subject students will:

  • have a critical understanding of the main issues in contemporary analytical metaphysics and epistemology.
  • have developed skills in philosophical reasoning concerning these issues.
  • be in a position to go on to more advanced work in these areas.
Assessment: Written assignment of 1000 words (due mid-semester): 30%. Written assignment of 2000 words (due end of semester): 50%. Two in-class Quizzes 10% each. A hurdle requirement of a minimum attendance at 80% of tutorials applies in this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject..
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available at the university bookshop at the beginning of semester.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • develop familiarity with the main issues in contemporary metaphysics and epistemology, ability to understand how they fit together, how they fit with other disciplines, and how they apply outside academia.
  • develop the ability to think critically and systematically about abstract intellectual problems, and the ability to apply such abstract reasoning to concrete situations.
  • develop the ability to read critically and to analyze ideas (one's own and those of the authors read) orally and in writing.
Links to further information: http://www.philosophy.unimelb.edu.au/
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Philosophy
Philosophy Major

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