Postgraduate taught 

Philosophy (Conversion) MSc

Causation PHIL5108

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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

Short Description

This course explores one of the central topics of metaphysics: causation. It takes the historical, recent, and state-of-the-art developments in theorising about causation, and relates it to a range of other topics in philosophy, and in the wider world. Students will learn to critically engage with up-to-date professional texts, and to apply their understanding on this topic to their other courses, and, for some, to their future work.


16x1hr lectures and 4x1hr seminars as scheduled on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay 1 (2500 words) - 50%

Essay 2 (2500 words) - 50%

Course Aims

This course aims to: ·

■ Introduce students to key concepts and positions within the philosophy of causation.

■ Provide students the opportunity to engage with contemporary debates, and exercise their critical reasoning skills.

■ Illuminate different methodological approaches within metaphysics, and the inter-connected nature of different metaphysical debates.

■ Equip students with an enriched understanding of a key concept within modern analytic philosophy.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Categorise and differentiate between key concepts that feature in philosophy of causation, including in debates around epistemology, perception, ontology, ethics, and the law.

■ Critically assess and explain the reasoning underlying the counterfactual theory of causation and the modal metaphysics behind it.

■ Explain the reasoning underlying the contrastive and interventionist theories of causation.

■ Critically assess and explain the reasoning the distinction between causation and causal explanation in light of the methodologies deployed in contemporary debates around causation.

■ Identify, develop and defend controversial assumptions about causation in the wider philosophical literature out with metaphysics.

■ Develop and defend a philosophical position related to current literature on metaphysics of causation

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.