Philosophy of Religion
In this course, we look at the most important classical problems in the Philosophy of Religion, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. We consider how thinkers thought about religious belief in general; about whether we can meaningfully talk about God; about whether God exists, and if so, what characteristics God may have. We will also look at the problem of evil and the connection (if any) between religion and morality.
2023 Spring syllabus – BA
2023 Spring syllabus – MA
Assignments, 2023 Spring
Class Schedule, 2023 Spring
|17/01||Introduction; how to talk about God
||Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed, chs. 52–58
Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism, ch. 2
||Pascal, Pensées, § 233
Clifford, "The Ethics of Belief"
|31/01||Arguments for God's existence 1: The ontological argument
||Anselm, Proslogion, chs. 1–5
Gaunilo's reply to Anselm's argument
|07/02||Arguments for God's existence 2: The cosmological argument
||Aquinas, Summa theologiae I.2.3
Rowe, "The Cosmological Argument"
|14/02||Divine attributes 1: Divine omnipotence and divine freedom (guest lecture by Marcin Iwanicki)
|| Aquinas, Summa theologiae I.25
Howard-Snyder, "How an Unsurpassable Being Can Create a Surpassable World"
|21/02||Reading week||(No class)|
|28/02||Divine attributes 2: Divine Simplicity
||Aquinas, Summa theologiae I.3
|07/03||Divine attributes 3: Divine Omniscience
||Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, V
Pike, "Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action"
|14/03||The problem of miracles
||Hume, "Of miracles" (Enquiry, sec. 10)
Swinburne, The Concept of Miracle, ch. 3
|21/03||God and Evil
||Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles III.10; De malo 3.1–2
Rowe, "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism"
|28/03||Religion and morality
||Kant, Critique of Practical Reason V–VIII
Nielsen, "Ethics without Religion"