Skip to main content

Unit information: The Philosophy of Religion in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Philosophy of Religion
Unit code THRS20102
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
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, and epistemology. The unit introduces students to some central debates in contemporary philosophy of religion. Questions covered will include issues connected with the coherence of the concept of God; the relationship between theism and morality; the justification of religious belief; religious experience; and the apparent tension between contemporary science and religion.


  • To familiarise students with some of the central debates in contemporary philosophy of religion
  • To develop students’ ability to offer their own assessment of the key philosophical issues to which these discussions give rise
  • To develop skills in philosophical reading, writing and argumentation

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the central debates and discussions in the contemporary philosophy of religion
  2. Evaluate the key philosophical issues which arise in connection with these current debates and discussions
  3. Construct concise and persuasive philosophical arguments in written essays appropriate to level I/5.
  4. Demonstrate skills in the research, reading and presentation of complex materials on these debates, appropriate to level I/5;
  5. Demonstrate an independent approach to designing, researching and completing a level-I project.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

1 x 2000 words portfolio (formative) [ILOs 1-4]

1 x 2500-word summative essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]

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.