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Unit information: The Philosophy of Religion in 2018/19

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Unit name The Philosophy of Religion
Unit code THRS20102
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. David Leech
Open unit status Not open




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


The philosophy of religion is a wide and varied philosophical discipline that cuts across ethics, metaphysics, epistemology and aesthetics. The unit introduces students to debates concerning the central issues in recent philosophy of religion. We will ask whether the usual descriptions of the Judeo-Christian God are coherent, and the possibility of morality without the existence of a god, but we will also look at non-theistic (Buddhist) contributions to the field. Questions covered will include issues connected with the coherence of the concept of God, the justification of religious belief; religious experience; and the apparent tension between contemporary science and religion.

Students will be allowed to practice their oral presentation skills by giving a class presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. articulate knowledge of the philosophy of religion;
  2. demonstrate an in-depth understanding of current debates in the discipline, with respect both to theistic and non-theistic traditions;
  3. evaluate some central arguments in contemporary philosophy of religion and engage with them critically;
  4. apply skills in the researching, reading and presentation of complex material appropriate to level I.

Teaching details

1 x 2500 essay (50%) [ILO 1-4]

1 x two-hour exam (50%) [ILO 1-4]

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 2500 words and one unseen examination of two hours comprising 2 questions out of 6 (50%), both test ILOs 1-4

Reading and References

A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. Edited by Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper and Philip L. Quinn. Oxford: Blackwell, 2010. BL51 COM. The Routledge companion to philosophy of religion. Edited by Chad Meister and Paul Copan. London: Routledge, 2013. BL51 ROU. Stenmark, Mikael. How to relate science and religion :a multidimensional model. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Cambridge: W.B. Eerdmans, 2004. BL240.3 STE. Taliaferro, Charles. Philosophy of religion: a beginner's guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2009. BL51 TAL.