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Module Reading List

Introduction to Metaphysics, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr Darren Bradley
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Required readings are all in: 

Ney, Alyssa (2014), Metaphysics : an introduction, London: Routledge  

A very helpful overview for students is:

Conee, Earl and Ted Sider (2014), Riddles of existence : a guided tour of metaphysics, Oxford: OUP, available online through Leeds University library.


On all topics the first further reading you should do is at Stanford Encyclopedia and Internet Encyclopeda of Philosophy


Further readings, some of which will be challenging.

Warning!: The most common mistake is to read too much, and not understand any of it very well. Proceed with caution.



Tim Crane, The Objects of Thought (2013) 

Alexius Meinong, ‘On the Theory of Objects’ (1904) in R. Chisholm (ed.) Realism and the Background of Phenomenology.

W.V. Quine, ‘On What There Is’ (1948) Review of Metaphysics 

W.V. Quine, ‘Existence and Quantification’ in Ontological Relativity and Other Essays (1968)


Best theories: Simplicity and fundamentality

Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman (2009) Metametaphysics

Schaffer, Jonathan. 2003. Is there a fundamental level? Noûs37(3), pp.498-517.

Schaffer, Jonathan. On What Grounds What 2009 Metametaphysics, eds. Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman, 347-83

Schaffer, Jonathan. (2015) What Not to Multiply without Necessity Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 644-64

From the locals:

Shalkowski, Scott (2010). IBE, GMR, and metaphysical projects. In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 167—187 §

SaatsiJuha Explanation and explanationism in science and metaphysicsIn Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays, Oxford University Press. Forthcoming

Bradley, Darren Philosophers should prefer simpler theoriesPhilosophical Studies 175 (12): 3049-3067. 2018


Abstract entities

W.V. Quine, ‘On What There Is’ (1948) Review of Metaphysics 

Alston, William P. "Ontological commitments." Philosophical studies 9, no. 1-2 (1958): 8-17.

Devitt, Michael (1980). ”Ostrich Nominalism’ or ”Mirage Realism’? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 (4):433-449.

Armstrong, David (1980). Against Ostrich Nominalism: a Reply to Michael Devitt. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 (4):440-449.

Sider, Theodore. "Bare particulars." Philosophical perspectives 20 (2006): 387-397.

Armstrong, David Malet. Universals: An opinionated introduction. Routledge, 2018.

Lewis, David. "New work for a theory of universals."  Australasian journal of philosophy 61, no. 4 (1983): 343-377.

Benovsky, Jiri. "The bundle theory and the substratum theory: deadly enemies or twin brothers?." Philosophical Studies 141, no. 2 (2008): 175-190.


Material objects

Merricks, T. 2001. Objects and persons. Oxford: Clarendon Press

Schaffer, J. The Deflationary Metaontology of Thomasson's Ordinary Objects Philosophical Books 50.3 (2009), 142-57

Thomasson, A. 2009. Answerable and unanswerable questions. In: Chalmers, D., Manley, D., and Wasserman, R. eds. Metametaphysics: new essays on the foundations of ontology. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp.444-471.  

Thomasson, Amie (2007), Ordinary objects, Oxford: OUP  


Critiques of Metaphysics


Rudolf Carnap, ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’ Revue Internationale de Philosophie (1950)

Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman (2009) Metametaphysics OUP.

Bradley, D. 'Carnap's Epistemological Critique of Metaphysics' Synthese 195 (5): 2247-2265.

Thomasson, A. ‘Easy Ontology and its Consequences’ in G Ostertag (ed.) Meanings and Other Things (2016).



Bigelow, J. Presentism and Properties Philosophical Perspectives 10:35-52 (1996)

Lewis, D. (1976). The paradoxes of time travel. American Philosophical Quarterly13(2), 145-152.

Smart, JJC. "The river of time." Mind 58, no. 232 (1949): 483-494.

Prior, A. N. (1959). Thank goodness that's over. Philosophy34(128), 12-17.

J. M. E. McTaggart, The Nature of Existence, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, I927, Vol. II, Chap. 33.   



Possibility and Necessity

Ayer, Alfred Jules. Language, truth and logic. Vol. 1. Courier Corporation, 2012.

Boghossian, Paul Artin. "Analyticity reconsidered." Noûs  30, no. 3 (1996): 360-391.

Kripke, Saul (1980) Naming and Necessity (lecture 3 is most relevant)

Lewis, David (1986), On the plurality of worlds, Oxford: Blackwell

Sider, T. (2002). The ersatz pluriverse. The Journal of Philosophy99(6), 279-315.




Kripke, Saul (1980) Naming and Necessity (lecture 3 is most relevant)

Fine, K. (1994). Essence and modality: The second philosophical perspectives lecture. Philosophical perspectives8, 1-16.

Sidelle, Alan. "Rigidity, ontology, and semantic structure." The Journal of Philosophy 89, no. 8 (1992): 410-430.


Free Will

Frankfurt, H. ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’   

Lewis, David 1981, “Are We Free to Break the Laws?”, Theoria, 47(3): 113–21. Reprinted in Watson 2003: ch. 6. doi:10.1111/j.1755-2567.1981.tb00473.x


The Metaphysics of Race

 Appiah, Kwame Anthony. 1992. In my father’s house: Africa in the philosophy of culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  

Haslanger, Sally. "Ontology and social construction." Philosophical topics 23, no. 2 (1995): 95-125.  

Schaffer, J. Social Construction as Grounding; Or: Fundamentality for Feminists, a Reply to Barnes and Mikkola Philosophical Studies 174 (2017): 2449-65

Spencer, Q. (2018). Racial Realism I: Are Biological Races Real? Philosophy Compass 13(1): e12468.

This list was last updated on 21/01/2022