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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Philosophy


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • At least one 'Year 2' module in Philosophy.


  • At least one other 'Year 3' module in Philosophy.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide a grounding in modern metaphysics, conceived as a study of the most fundamental structure of reality, and a grasp of those key concepts required for a representation of the world not only as it is but as it must be.


  • The main topics to be covered will be selected from a list including the following: being and non-being, Humean metaphysics, the plurality of worlds, causal power, rival conceptions of the nature of substance, the distinction between universals and particulars, the distinction between essential and accidental properties, problems of identity, persistence and change, problems of space and time.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have knowledge and understanding of key metaphysical theories.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to identify, explain and address philosophical questions arising in metaphysics.
Key Skills:
  • Be able to use relevant literature to examine and assess arguments for and against such theories.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver basic module-specific information and provide a framework for further study
  • Discussion groups provide opportunities for students to test their own understanding of the material studied, and defend and debate different opinions
  • Guided reading provides a structure within which students can exercise and extend their abilities to make use of available learning resources.
  • The summative essays tests knowledge and understanding of the course material, and the ability to identify and explain issues covered in the module, and, using relevant research material, to present different approaches to those issues, and make reasoned judgement on the merits and demerits of such approaches.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 weekly 1 hour 22
Discussion groups 8 Fortnightly 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essays Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 - 3,000 words 50%
Essay 2 - 3,000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.