Philosophy 2B: What is there? PHIL2011

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to core philosophical issues concerning the nature of reality. We will explore core issues in formal logic, metaphysics, philosophy of religion and philosophy of science, focussing on the questions of what kinds of things can be said to exist.


Lectures: selected Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12.00-13.00; and four, two hour collaborative classes, Fridays 12.00-14.00 as scheduled on MyCampus, with a corresponding alternative, online two hour collaborative class on Mondays, 14.00-16.00. The alternative time is principally for the benefit of Economics students for whom there is a timetable clash, but is also open to students who miss the normal Friday class.

Requirements of Entry

A grade D3 or above in one of the following Philosophy 1A(PHIL1010); Philosophy 1B(PHIL1011)

Excluded Courses





Exam (90 minute duration) - 50%

Essay (1500 words) - 40%

Seminar participation (in-class multiple choice quiz, approx. ten minutes per seminar) - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Seminar participation is not available for reassessment 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Introduce students to advanced reasoning skills.

■ Allow students to develop analytical thinking skills via (a) the identification and clarification of conceptual relationships and (b) the identification and evaluation of assumptions and arguments concerning the nature and constituents of reality.

■ Provide students with the opportunity to study and engage with different theories from within metaphysics.

■ Allow students to apply reasoning skills to questions about the nature of the reality, including questions about the existence of supernatural entities, such as a divine being.

■ Allow students to engage with wider philosophical issues relating to the scope and aims of science.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Apply critical and analytical skills to issues of current philosophical importance pertaining to questions concerning the nature and constituents of reality.

■ Explain and apply the concepts of universal and existential quantification, predication, premise, conclusion, deductive validity, soundness, and other concepts central to logical argumentation.

■ Explain and evaluate arguments from within metaphysics concerning what kinds of things exist.

■ Analyse and critically evaluate theories and arguments concerning the existence of God and other supernatural entities.

■ Discuss critically some main positions relating to the scope and aims of scientific methodology.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.