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Reality and Existence

Course Code: PHIL 1152
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Philosophy
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course introduces students to philosophical reasoning about reality and human nature. Metaphysical questions raised by traditional and contemporary philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, and Sartre) will be considered, and a variety of answers will be explored. Topics may include: mind and body, personal identity, the self, consciousness, God, the nature of metaphysics, free will and life after death. Students will be encouraged to develop their own thinking about the issues covered. This course may be taken by those who want an introduction to fundamental philosophical ideas as part of their liberal arts education. It will also serve for a foundation for further work in Philosophy.

Course Content

  1. Historical and contemporary perspectives on the nature of metaphysics, on its relation to epistemology, and on a range of specific metaphysical problems.
  2. An examination of at least one  major historical philosopher (e.g., Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Heidegger) on a set of central problems in metaphysics, or an examination of the writings of several philosophers on one major historical problem of metaphysics.
  3. The study of another major problem of metaphysics with significant emphasis on contemporary thinking about that problem.
  4. Works examined might include Descartes’ Meditations, or Kant’s Prolegomena; problems covered might include the mind/body problem, the problem of personal identity, or the ultimate nature of reality.  Other topics covered might include: God, life after death, meaning and the purpose of life, causation, free will and determinism, human nature, investigation in philosophical psychology, and the relation of language to consciousness.

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

A combination of lecture and discussion.  Some class sessions may involve formal lectures for the entire time (allowing time for questions), in which case a later class session will be devoted to a discussion of the lecture and reading material.  Other class sessions may involve a combination of informal lecture and structured discussion.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. 

Any possible combination of the following which equals 100%:

   Percent Range       Example  
Tests, Quizzes, Short Written Assignments    30% – 60% Five 10% Tests  50%
Written Class Presentations, Argument  Analyses, Exams    20% – 50% Two 20% Analyses  40%
Instructor’s General Evaluation 
(may include attendance class participation, group work, homework, etc.)
   0% – 20% Attendance/
Total     100%

(No one evaluation component within each category may exceed 40%)

Learning Outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Explain traditional and contemporary problems of metaphysics, and the philosophical reasoning and viewpoints pertaining to them.
  2. Systematically develop their own philosophical reasoning and reflection about the types of metaphysical problems covered.
  3. Demonstrate the relation of metaphysics and theory of knowledge with regard to the problems discussed in the course.
  4. Contrast and compare traditional and contemporary philosophical perspectives on specific topics covered in the course.

course prerequisites

None (Recommended:  PHIL 1101, PHIL 1102, PHIL 1103 or PHIL 1151) 

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.