Syllabus, Fall 2011

Course Title:Metaphysics
Course Number:PHIL 352
Ticket Number:17308
MW 2:00-3:40 p.m., SH 190
Prerequisites: Completion of the lower division writing requirement and 3 units of philosophy
Contact information: Professor Stern
Phone: (818) 677-4853
Sierra Tower, Room 508
Office hours: MW 7:00 - 7:45 a.m. and
12:00 - 12:45 p.m.; also by appointment
Professor Yagisawa
Phone: (818) 677-2756
Sierra Tower, Room 530
Office hours: MW 12:15 - 1:45 p.m.; also by appointment


Catalog description:

An examination of traditional and contemporary views concerning major issues in metaphysics, such as continued existence through change, universals and particulars, realism, causation, necessity and possibility, possible worlds, and time and space. Will also include regular sessions on philosophical writing and methodology. Regular written assignments will be required.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will:
  1. read and comprehend philosophical texts.;
  2. respond critically and analytically to philosophical positions, arguments, and methodologies, including positions, arguments, and methodologies involved in the investigation of significant issues in metaphysics;
  3. defend their own philosophical positions and arguments;
  4. write well-organized philosophical essays in which they clearly articulate philosophical positions and arguments;
  5. write well-organized philosophical essays in which they clearly and effectively present and defend their own philosophical positions and arguments;

Topics Covered:

See SCHEDULE for a schedule of topics and assignments. The schedule may be adjusted in response to learning outcomes as the semester progresses. Changes will be announced in class and on the class announcements web page (ANNOUNCEMENTS). Revisions to the schedule page itself may lag behind these announcements.

Required Textbook and web sources:

Loux, Michael J. (ed.), Metaphysics: Contemporary Readings. Routledge, 2d edition, 2008.
ISBN-10 0-415-96238-2, ISBN-13 978-0-415-96238-4.

Pryor, James, Guidelines on Reading Philosophy.

Pryor, James, Guidelines on Writing Philosophy.

Additional readings will be available online in electronic journals.

Course Requirements and Methods of Evaluation:

Pluses and minuses will be used.

Documentation will be required for excused absences. Each student may have 3 unexcused absences without a grade penalty. Each additional unexcused absence will result in a grade penalty of 3%.

Required work will be weighted as follows (subject to adjustment) in determining course grade:

Short writing assignments30%
Draft of midterm paper5%
Midterm paper 20%
Draft of term paper5%
Term paper40%
This formula may be adjusted if the number of graded short writing assignments is not sufficiently large for the weight listed above. Any modifications will be announced in class and on the class announcement web page, ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Academic integrity:
The University is a community with learning as its central purpose. Both the unity of the community and the activity of learning depend upon academic integrity. As a result, we take academic integrity and its breaches seriously. You can expect discovery of a violation to result in the filing of a Student Misconduct Complaint with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

For information on what constitutes academic dishonesty, and on the possible repercussions of and penalties for acts of academic dishonesty, consult the CSUN Student Conduct Code in the University Catalog or at See details on plagiarism and how to avoid it at

Special needs (such as interpreters, note takers, or testing services):

Students with special needs should work with the office of Disability Resources and Educational Services and inform us of any accommodations needed.

Course web pages:

Schedule of assignments

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