Course Number: (PHS 530)
Course Title: (Metaphysics)
Term: Fall 2017

Dr. Roger Duncan

Name, Email, Phone


The aim of this course is to acquaint the student with the fundamental concepts of the Philosophy of being as that has been pursued within an Aristotelian-Thomistic framework. Comparison with modern systems and acknowledgment of contemporary critiques will be woven into the course framework.



Reading Calendar (the student will be expected to read the assignment prior to, in preparations for, the date on which it is assigned)

8/28 (Intro – Pre-Socratics (esp. Parmenides)

Aristotle and the Philosophy of Nature

9/5Aquinas Principles of Nature

Problems in modern phil of nature

9/12 substance - analogy - primary and secondary qualities

9/19                "                           "

9/26 quiz 1

form/matter Hierarchy of being; handout; Schumacher 1-38

9/30 BEING and God: Hierarchy

10/3 Mid-term exam

10/10 Aquinas On Being and Essence Existence/essence

Arguments for God’s existence.

10/17Analogy of Being - Form/matter; substance/accident; essence Existence;

"Everything in everything"

10/24Transcendentals Anderson

10/31 Anderson (pages to be announced)

11/7 The mutual interpenetration of the transcendentals

11/14 Quiz 2

11/21 Being and the Person Clarke 1-24

11/28            "                  "

12/5 Final Exam 


There will be a midterm and a final exam, plus two quizzes at times to be announced. Exams will be short essays, designed to assess the student’s grasp of the issues and concepts that have been presented in the lectures and readings.

Quiz 1- 15%

Quiz 2 – 15%

Midterm exam - 30%

Final Exam - 40%


Anderson, James. An introduction to the Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas

Guide for the Perplexed, Schumacher

Clarke, Norris Person and Being

Further Required Reading:

St Thomas Aquinas: The Principles of Nature (online)

On Being and Essence (online)  

The great chain of Being – handout



Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at


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 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.


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.



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. 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.


Roger Duncan Ph.D. Yale 1969. Taught at UConn. for thirty years. Author of numerous articles on philosophy and theology. Co-director of Promisek Inc,, Private Lay association of the Faithful, Diocese of Hartford, located on 300 acre piece of land in Western CT, where he lives.