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PH368-15 Philosophy of Religion

Department
Philosophy
Level
Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
David Bather Woods
Credit value
15
Module duration
10 weeks
Assessment
20% coursework, 80% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

PH368-15 Philosophy of Religion

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to a set of key questions, views and arguments in the philosophy of religion, with a focus on the theistic conception of God and the issues raised by the Western monotheistic religions.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

After introducing students to the theistic conception of God, the module will critically assess classical and recent arguments for and against the existence of God and it will discuss a range of philosophical issues concerning religion. The particular issues may vary from year to year. Some of the following issues will be addressed in any given year: the nature of religious language; the relation between God and moral goodness; whether human freedom and responsibility are compatible with divine predestination and divine foreknowledge; the possibility and significance of miracles; whether religious claims regarding human disembodiment, resurrection, and immortality can be supported or refuted philosophically; exclusivist, inclusivist and pluralist accounts of doctrinal differences among religions. A sample syllabus is provided below.

  1. The theistic conception of God. God, faith, and reason.
  2. Ontological arguments for God’s existence: St Anselm and Plantinga.
  3. Cosmological arguments for God’s existence, design and fine-tuning.
  4. Pragmatic arguments for God’s existence: Pascal, James, Swinburne.
  5. Arguments from evil against God’s existence.
  6. Arguments from divine hiddenness against God’s existence.
  7. Religion, science, and miracles.
  8. God and moral goodness.
  9. Many religions: exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism.
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Good knowledge and understanding of relevant ideas and arguments.
  • Ability to assess these ideas and arguments in an independent manner.
  • Ability to discuss these ideas and arguments with others and improve one’s knowledge and understanding of them by means of such discussion.
Indicative reading list

The module will rely on a manual, supplemented by an anthology and/or essays on selected issues. Possible manuals include:
Davies, Brian, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Murray, Michael J. and Michael Rea, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Rowe, William L., Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction, 4th edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2007).
Zagzebski, Linda Trinkaus, The Philosophy of Religion: An Historical Introduction (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007).
Possible anthologies include:
Peterson, Michael, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach and David Basinger (eds.), Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, 5th edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Rowe, William L. and William J. Wainwright (eds.), Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, 3rd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
Additional essays include:
Adams, Marylin McCord, selections from Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999).
Austin, Michael W., ‘Divine Command Theory’, in James Fieser and Bradley Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/divine-c/.
Bogardus, Tomas, ‘The Problem of Contingency for Religious Belief’, Faith and Philosophy, 30 (2013), 371–392.
Collins, Robin, ‘God, Design, and Fine-Tuning’, in Raymond Martin and Christopher Bernard (eds.), God Matters: Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, 2nd ed. (New York: Longman, 2002), updated version at http://www.webcitation.org/6fcTxHjKV.
Jordan, Jeffrey J., ‘Pascal’s Wagers and James’s Will to Believe’, in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion, ed. William J. Wainwright (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 168-187.
Mackie, J. L., Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (London: Penguin, 1990), Ch. 10.
Perry, John, Dialogue on Good, Evil, and the Existence of God (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1999).
Rudder Baker, Lynne, ‘Death and the Afterlife’, in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion, ed. William J. Wainwright (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 366-391.
Swinburne, Richard, Faith and Reason, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 221-227.
Zagzebski, Linda, ‘Foreknowledge and Free Will’, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2011 Edition, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2011/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/.

Subject specific skills
  • close-reading and textual analysis of a range of source materials relevant to contemporary philosophy of religion
  • organisation and articulation of independent responses to the source materials and subject matter in written and oral forms
  • construction and defence of critical stances and arguments on the subject matter
Transferable skills
  • comprehension and analysis of complex and nuanced written communications
  • oral and written communication of independent responses to a range of materials
  • presentation of well-reasoned argument in support of a conclusion

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 2 hours (12%)
Seminars 8 sessions of 1 hour (5%)
Private study 124 hours (83%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

No private study requirements defined for this module.

Costs

No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D6
Weighting Study time
1000 word essay 20%
Online Examination 80%
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Feedback on essays will be provided on the feedback form for the essay, addressing standard areas of evaluation and individual content. Students will also receive individual feedback on the examination.

Past exam papers for PH368

Courses

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 3 of UCXA-Q8V7 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation with Philosophy

This module is Optional for:

  • UHIA-V1V8 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad and a term in Venice)
    • Year 3 of V1V8 History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad and a term in Venice)
    • Year 4 of V1V8 History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad and a term in Venice)
  • Year 3 of UHIA-V1V7 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with a term in Venice)
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
  • UPHA-V700 Undergraduate Philosophy
    • Year 2 of V700 Philosophy
    • Year 3 of V700 Philosophy
  • Year 4 of UPHA-V701 Undergraduate Philosophy (wiith Intercalated year)
  • Year 4 of UPHA-V702 Undergraduate Philosophy (with Work Placement)
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Year 4 of UPHA-V7MM Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics (with Intercalated year)

This module is Core option list A for:

  • Year 3 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Year 3 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations

This module is Core option list B for:

  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations

This module is Core option list C for:

  • Year 4 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations

This module is Option list A for:

  • UPHA-VL78 BA in Philosophy with Psychology
    • Year 2 of VL78 Philosophy with Psychology
    • Year 3 of VL78 Philosophy with Psychology
  • Year 4 of UPHA-VL79 BA in Philosophy with Psychology (with Intercalated year)
  • Year 3 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Year 4 of UMAA-GV18 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Intercalated Year
  • UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
    • Year 3 of GV19 Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
    • Year 4 of GV19 Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
  • UPHA-V7Q8 Undergraduate Philosophy with Classical Civilisation
    • Year 2 of V7Q8 Philosophy with Classical Civilisation
    • Year 3 of V7Q8 Philosophy with Classical Civilisation

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 2 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • UPHA-VQ72 Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature
    • Year 2 of VQ72 Philosophy and Literature
    • Year 3 of VQ72 Philosophy and Literature
  • Year 4 of UPHA-VQ73 Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature with Intercalated Year

This module is Option list C for:

  • Year 3 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V1V6 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad)

This module is Option list E for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law