Introduction to Metaphysics: Art and Ontology
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Faculty member: Maegan Fairchild (Philosophy)
Contemporary metaphysicians are interested in questions having to do with the nature of objects. How can art objects help us better understand the material world? How much change can physical objects survive? Are there only things that are made up of physical objects or are there “abstract” objects, like properties or numbers? This course uses art objects to raise (and complicate) some of these questions. Students will consider the works on display as case studies to better understand central debates in metaphysics and as opportunities to examine how these questions might be better approached through the rich metaphysics of art objects.
Art objects enrich our understanding of the theories that we’re trying to build in metaphysics… Is a sculpture different from the matter that it's made out of?
Have you ever thought about what art can teach you about the nature of existence, time, or matter?
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about things like the existence of physical objects, the structure of space or time, the nature of possibility, and more. Can art help us think about these same fundemental questions?Read more
Works included in this collection
Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, the Eleanor Noyes Crumpacker Endowment Fund, and P.J. and Julie Solit.