Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The Structure of the World PHIL5084

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course students will study the metaphysical structure of the world: investigate what we can know about its ultimate constituents and how they are arranged together. What entities are we committed to by our linguistic practices, and are there universals and relations as well as particular objects?


Two lectures per week for 9 weeks, plus four seminars. The course may not run every year. Options running this year are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





Two essays, equally weighted, each with a word limit of 2500 words.

Course Aims

The course aims to:


■ Introduce students to the methodology of analytic metaphysics;

■ Familiarize them with historical and contemporary debates about the fundamental structure of the world, and develop their understanding of the significance of metaphysics for other areas of enquiry.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Critically assess the methodology of analytic metaphysics;

■ Critically assess different views of the fundamental structure of the world, for example debates about realism, nominalism, and the status of truth-makers;

■ Evaluate and defend their own views on the significance of metaphysics for other areas of enquiry.


Assessment for this course is at Masters Level.

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.