This unit explores the fundamental philosophical questions which existence and experience. The unit explores key metaphysical philosophies through history and some of the key concepts that define philosophies of first principles. Questions explored in the unit may include: What is existence? What is the relation between being and becoming? How does experience occur? What is real and what is merely appearance? What are universals? How can something change and yet remain itself? Learners will have the opportunity to examine the relevance of metaphysics today.

Unit code: AP9220C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Philosophy

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Communicate a sophisticated and critical understanding of the theories, assumptions, and terminology of some important philosophies of first principles


Identify the intention, purpose, and context of important texts in the history of metaphysics, and assess their implications for philosophical thinking as such


Situate the topics studied within the wider framework of western metaphysics and demonstrate an understanding of the differences between historical approaches


Illustrate the significance and consequences of the topics and approaches of metaphysics for related areas in philosophical and theological enquiry


Appraise the conceptual frameworks and arguments of the thinkers studied in the unit


Develop a topic of research in a critical, rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner, in accord with the methodologies and conventions of research in philosophy of religion/philosophical theology

Unit sequence

One foundational unit of philosophy.


Lectures, discussions, In-class exercises.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Beiser, Frederick, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Hegel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Blackson, Thomas A. Ancient Greek Philosophy: from the Pre-Socratics to the Hellenistic Philosophers. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Frank, Manfred. The Philosophical Foundations of Early German Romanticism. Translated by Elizabeth Millan-Zaibert. New York: State University of New York Press, 2004.
  • Grondin, Jean. Introduction to Metaphysics: from Parmenides to Levinas. Translated by Lukas Soderstrom. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
  • Hegel, G.W. Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by A.V. Miller. Revised edition. Oxford University Press, 1977.
  • Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time: A Translation of Sein und Zeit. Translated by Joan Stambaugh. New York: State University of New York Press, 2010.
  • Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Norman Kemp Smith. Reprint, London: Macmillan, 1982. Original 1929.
  • ——— . Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, With Selections from the Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Gary Hatfield. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Levinas, Emmanuel. Basic Philosophical Writings. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Wippel, John F. The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas: From Finite Being to Uncreated Being. Washington, DC: Catholic University of American Press, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1


2,000-word essay

2000 40.0
Skeleton Argument (e.g. Philosophy)

1,000-word skeleton argument

1000 10.0

4,000-word essay

4000 50.0

Variant 2

Skeleton Argument (e.g. Philosophy)

1,000-word skeleton argument

1000 10.0

6000-word essay

6000 90.0

Variant 3

Written Examination

2-hour examination

2000 40.0

4000-word essay

4000 50.0
Skeleton Argument (e.g. Philosophy)

1,000-word skeleton argument

1000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 19 Jul, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-07-19 12:35:23 +1000