Welcome to Metaphysics II

 

SUBJECT OVERVIEW 

TEACHER:  Kristine Malabanan (kristine.malabanan@gmail.com)

DURATION: 25 classes

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Metaphysics is the study of reality from its most radical perspective: that of being, which is present in, and presupposed by, all other knowledge, including science. Metaphysics is the heart of philosophy, and essential for sound theology.

Having covered the Act of Being and Being in the first part, Metaphysics II focuses on the Transcendentals and Causality.

The transcendental properties are those which are enjoyed by all things by virtue of their being. The reflection on the transcendentals was initiated by the classical Greco-Latin philosophy; Later, the Christian revelation strongly contributed to achieving a unitary and ordered vision, until reaching its enumeration and hierarchy: unity (with multiplicity), truth, goodness and beauty. It is opportune that the students notice how these properties manifest the deepest dimensions of the cosmos and of human action, as well as the role they play in the knowledge of the fullness of being, which is God.

From the being of the entity flows its dynamism and also its causality. With regard to the latter, and more specifically to finite causality, it is necessary to distinguish and explain its four complementary genres: material, formal, efficient and final causality. The dependence of the finite and mobile being with respect to the cause is expressed in the principle of causality, especially relevant in the progress of the cognitive activity of man, since this principle reveals the order of the cosmos and its reference to God, as its origin and final end. Special importance is also attached to the study of the final cause — cause of causes — and of the corresponding principle of finality that governs the dynamism of the world at various levels. The explanation on the causes can conclude opportunely showing the limitation of the causality of finite beings, which refers to a further foundation in God as the first cause and plenitude of being.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

By the end of this course students should be able to:

Define what is a transcendental property of being
Describe the four transcendental (unity, truth, goodness and beauty) and explain how they show the deepest dimensions of the cosmos, human action and ultimately God.
Define the Principle of Causality: explain how we know and experience it.
Distinguish and explain the four types of causes: material, formal, efficient and final
Explain the concept of God as Uncaused Cause

PROGRAM

The course will cover the following topics:

I The Transcendentals

  • Being and the Transcendentals
  • Unity
  • Truth
  • Goodness
  • Beauty

II Ontological Causality

  • Knowing and Experiencing Causality
  • The Nature of Causality
  • The Four Causes: Formal, Material, Efficient, Final
  • The Uncaused Cause

    A detailed version of the program is available here  VIEW

COURSE SLIDES

Slides 1: Revision of Metaphysics I and the Notion of Transcendentals |  VIEW

Slides 2: Transcendentals Pt 1  |  VIEW

Slides 3: Transcendentals: Goodness & Beauty |  VIEW

Slides 4: Experiencing Causality |  VIEW

Slides 5: The Nature of Causality |  VIEW

Slides 6: Material & Final Cause |  VIEW

Slides 7: Efficient Cause |  VIEW

Slides 8: First Cause |  VIEW

Slides 9: Final Cause |  VIEW

Slides 10: Acting & Activity |  VIEW

ASSESSMENT

Part A: Presentation on the Transcendentals

  • Description: The transcendental properties of being show the deepest dimension of the world, human action and God. They are often depicted in many good books, movies, TV series, etc. Choose 2 of the 4 transcendental properties, and find a book, movie or series that you think shows the importance of this transcendental (For example: the importance of truth in a friendship, etc.)
  • Provide a summary of the plot of that book, movie or TV series. Justify how that book, movie or series shows the value of that transcendental. (For example, show how unity, goodness, truth or beauty is important or necessary in that situation).
  • Present your analysis as a Canva poster/presentation/infographic.
  • Weighting: 50%
  • Due Date: 20 Dec

 

Part B: Test on Causality

  • Description: Test on Causality, made up of 10 questions modified True or False and 4 questions short answer essays.
  • Weighting: 50%
  • Due Date: 27 Dec

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Essential Reading

Alvira, T., Clavell, L., Melendo, T., Metaphysics, Sinag Tala, Manila, 1991.

 

Further Reading

De Torre, J., Christian Philosophy, 3rd ed. Sinag Tala, Manila, 1980.

Feser, E., Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, Editiciones Scholasticae, Gazelle, Hightown, Lancaster, 2014.

Taylor, R., Introductory Readings in Metaphysics, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1978.

Taylor, R., Metaphysics, 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1963.

Kreeft, P., Summa Philosophica, St Augustines, South Bend Indiana, 2012.

Sullivan, D., An Introduction to Philosophy: The Perennial Principles of the Classical Realist Tradition, TAN, 1992.