Metaphysics (PHIL*3160) | College of Arts

Metaphysics (PHIL*3160)

Code and section: PHIL*3160*01

Term: Winter 2021

Instructor: Andrew Wayne


This course examines the development of our metaphysical and scientific understanding of space, time and motion from the ancient Greeks to the present day. We begin with Plato and Euclid. We then focus on the classical debate about the reality of space in the work of Newton, Leibniz, Berkeley and Mach. Finally, we study the impact of the conventionalist and relativistic theories of Poincaré and Einstein. Space and time are of interest not only as one of the central topics in metaphysics, but also as an exemplar of how research in metaphysics is done.

This course will be conducted remotely and meet synchronously during scheduled class time.

Course Outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.