Faculty of Arts

PHIL 100

Mind, Knowledge and Reality

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 100.


Metaphysics deals with fundamental philosophical problems and puzzles about the nature of the world and human beings. Examples include philosophical questions about the existence of God, the nature of time, the relationship between physical reality and mental life and the nature of identity and the self. The theory of knowledge studies philosophical problems concerning the sources, limits and justification of human knowledge and understanding (particularly, as distinct from mere opinion or belief). The course will introduce students to a selection of such topics and to some of the important philosophical discussions and debates to which they have given rise.

This course will be divided into three parts (1) Plato and Descartes, (2) Hume, (3) problems in metaphysics and epistemology. The first part of the course (4 weeks) will discuss Plato’s metaphysical theory of timeless forms, his theory of knowledge as justified true belief, Descartes’s quest for certainty though his “method of doubt” and the distinction between mind and body. The second part (4 weeks) will discuss Hume’s empiricist theory of knowledge and its application to the question of God’s existence. The third part of the course (4 weeks) will address some contemporary problems in metaphysics and epistemology, such as the problem of free will.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 1



Recommended Reading

Readings for the course will be made available through web-based resource materials on Canvas. These will include selections from Plato’s Dialogues, Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy and Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.


Coursework + exam


PHIL 100: 15.0 points

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