Course Number: PHS 490
Course Title: METAPHYSICS

Professor

Jon Kirwan, MEd, DPhil (Oxon)

jkirwan@holyapostles.edu

1. DESCRIPTION

Metaphysics is that most general investigation of philosophy that attempts to arrive at reasoned judgments about how things really are. This course presents a comprehensive introduction to Aristotelian and Thomistic metaphysics. Topics included are the nature of metaphysics as a science and its subject matter; the distinction between being and essence; and the analogy of being.

2. COURSE GOALS

3. THEMATIC QUESTIONS

4. REQUIREMENTS

Each week students read selected works and then engage in a discussion of the material in the online discussion forums. This class is asynchronous, meaning that we do not meet “live” on a certain day and time. Our interaction is through the discussion boards. I strongly encourage you to make the most of this course by engaging with your fellow students in the discussion boards.  Discussion posts are not required on days when other assignments are due.

I am happy to answer questions and provide assistance. The most expeditious method to contact me is through Holy Apostles email at jkirwan@holyapostles.edu.

Please note the following specific requirements and due dates below.

Class Discussion Board:

On ten weeks, when other assignments are not due, students respond substantively (roughly 250 words) to a weekly discussion prompt. The discussion posts allow students to demonstrate familiarity with the lesson material and offer opportunities for developing their academic writing ability and should not be merely reflective. Follow HACS guidelines for citing sources. The weekly discussion post is due at the end of each week by 11:59pm eastern time on Saturday.

Each week students will respond substantively (around 50 words) to the work of at least two other students. Although I expect students to respond to comments on their own posts, these do not count as part of the two required peer responses. The two required peer responses must be on the initial posts of at least two different students. The intent is to encourage discussion and interaction among students as would occur during a live classroom session. In order to count for grading purposes, responses must be posted by the following Wednesday at 11:59 pm eastern time.

Citations in Discussion Posts

For the purposes of the discussions in Populi, please provide a full footnote for sources at the end of your post. You will have to type a special character (^) at the beginning and end of your numbers to make a superscript in Populi, e.g. ^1^, ^2^, etc. Number your footnotes at the end of your post to correspond to the numbers in the body of your post. Also, to bold, italicize, or underline words in Populi, please refer to the “Formatting Guide” located below all discussion/comment fields in Populi.

Weekly Quizzes:

Students complete two online quizzes in Populi. Questions consist of multiple choice, true/false, and/or matching. Each quiz is open book with a 1-hour time limit.

Exams:

Each exam consists of a series of multiple choice, true/false, matching, and essay questions. Students will complete the exams online through Populi.  

Due dates for the exams are:

Mid-term: Week 8

Final: Week 15

Research Paper:

Each student will write a 5 to 6 page metaphysics analysis paper and should select a topic from those provided by the professor.

Times New Roman font, 12-point, double-spaced. Follow the HACS style sheet. Include a bibliography at the end of your paper. Please note that you do not double-double space between paragraphs, but instead indent each new paragraph ½ inch.  Since this project is designed to help undergraduate students learn the craft of writing academic papers, the use of proper spelling, grammar, and style are very important and will be evaluated as part of a student’s final grade for the paper. Direct any questions regarding paper format to the instructor. Email a copy of your paper to the course instructor and post a copy in the appropriate folder in the discussion board.

Paper due end of Week 14

 (The rubric for major papers – see below - applies to the research paper and multimedia presentation. The student is not graded on aesthetics or functionality of the experience, but attention to these things is appreciated.)

6. REQUIRED READINGS

7. SECONDARY READINGS

8. COURSE SCHEDULE

WWEK 1 – WHAT IS METAPHYSICS?

        Reading: Clarke, Ch. 1

Reading: Anderson, Ch. 1

Discussion Post Week 1

WEEK 2 –  ANALOGY AND TRANSCENDENTALS

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 3 and 4

Reading: Anderson, Ch. 4

Discussion Post Week 2

WEEK 3 – BEING AS GOOD AND TRASCENDENTAL PROPERTIES OF BEING

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 16 and 18

Reading: Anderson, Ch. 6

Discussion Post Week 3

WEEK 4 – ESSENCE (ESSENTIA)

        Reading: Clarke, Ch. 5

        Reading: Anderson, Ch. 3 (pp. 31-35)

        QUIZ

WEEK 5– FORM AND MATTER

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 6

Discussion Post Week 5

WEEK 6 – ACT AND POTENCY

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 7

Reading: Anderson, Ch. 3 (pp.28-31)

Discussion Post Week 6

WEEK 7  – SUBSTANCE AND ACCIDENT

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 8

Discussion Post Week 7

WEEK 8  – MIDTERM

WEEK 9 – SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 9

Discussion Post Week 9

WEEK 10 – CAUSALITY

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 12

Discussion Post Week 10

WEEK 11 – CAUSE (CONT.)        

        Reading: Clarke, 13 

Discussion Post Week 11

WEEK 12 – THE DISCOVERY AND MEANING OF BEING

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 2

QUIZ 2

WEEK 13 – THE METAPHYSICAL STRUCTURE OF FINITE BEING

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 10

Discussion Post Week 13

WEEK 14 – THE FINAL UNIFICATION

Reading: Clarke, Ch. 14

              FINAL PAPER

WEEK 15

FINAL EXAM

10. DISABILITIES ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY

Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at rmish@holyapostles.edu or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.

11. ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously.  Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.

12. ATTENDANCE POLICY

Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.

13. INCOMPLETE POLICY

An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete and must receive the grade that they have earned. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.

14. ABOUT YOUR PROFESSOR

Jon Kirwan, MEd, DPhil (Oxon), received his doctorate from the University of Oxford and is an Assistant Professor at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, CA.  Specializing in twentieth-century French thought, his doctoral thesis, soon to be published by Oxford University Press, focuses on the debate between Thomism and the nouvelle théologie.