Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Metaphysics is the study of stuff in the most abstract and fundamental sense. Metaphysicians ask, with hopefully a bit more sophistication, the kinds of questions little kids often wonder about. This might seem trivial, but the puzzles are genuine and hard! Here are a few that we'll think about in this class:
What exists? I'd like to think I do. But what about Sherlock Holmes? How many things exist? Well, there are clouds in the sky. How many? It's tough to say: Their boundaries are fuzzy.
What is time? Does it pass? Can we travel to the past? What would that even mean?
What am I? Am I my body? Am I my mind? Can I survive being teleported, if that involves an instantaneous molecule-by-molecule reconstruction of me in some distant location? What if the original "me" is still around after the reconstruction?
MIT students were required to take one philosophy course prior to this one.
|Problem set 1||15%|
|Problem set 2||15%|
|Problem set 3||15%|
|SES #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|6–8||Time||Problem Set 1 due on session 6|
|9–12||Identity||Problem Set 2 due on session 12|
|17–19||Free Will||Problem Set 3 due on session 19|
|20–22||Causation||Final Paper Outline due on session 21|
|23–25||Ontology, reconsidered||Final Paper due on session 25|