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Unit information: The Philosophy of Religion in 2013/14

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Unit name The Philosophy of Religion
Unit code THRS10034
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. David Leech
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will introduce students to the philosophy of religion. It examines its history, including ancient philosophical, Christian, Jewish and Islamic contributions, and the emergence of modern philosophy of religion out of early modern philosophical theology. It also introduces students to central debates concerning the meaning of life in recent philosophy of religion, including issues connected with the concept of God and the justification of religious belief; religion and science; philosophical issues in non-theistic traditions such as Buddhism; and philosophical defences of atheism.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have

(1) developed a general knowledge of the history of philosophy of religion; (2) acquired a basic understanding of current debates in the discipline, with respect both to theistic and non-theistic traditions; (3) gained some familiarity with some central arguments in contemporary philosophy of religion and an ability to engage critically with them; (4) developed skills in the researching, reading and presentation of complex material.

Teaching details

1 lecture + 1 seminar per week

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 1500 words and one unseen examination of two hours comprising 2 questions out of 6 (50%).

Reading and References

• Taliaferro, Charles Evidence and faith : philosophy and religion since the seventeenth century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). BD573 TAL • Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion (eds.) Michael L. Peterson and Raymond J. VanArragon (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2004). BL51 CON • Davies, Brian An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Third Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). BL51 DAV • Hick, John The Philosophy of Religion (New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs, 1990). BL51 HIC • A Companion to Philosophy of Religion (eds.) Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper and Philip L. Quinn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010). BL51 COM