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The Philosophy of Religion


The course introduces the main principles of traditional European philosophy and their application to the justification of religious beliefs about God within monotheism. The first module covers basic logic, arguments for design in the universe, cosmological arguments for the necessity of God’s existence, and the problem of evil. Further modules will be made available on demand, including ethics, science and religion, and philosophy of language. Reference will be made throughout to Islamic texts and sources as well as a range of European philosophers.

 

The first in a series of modules leading to an AS level in Religious Studies (if required). The study of European philosophy is recommended for those wishing to understand the relation of Islam in Europe in the 21st century.

 

This course is designed to build up over 4 years to a comprehensive understanding of the full range of philosophical issues relating to Islam today.

 

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The Philosophy of Religion


 

Brief description

The course introduces the main principles of traditional European philosophy and their application to the justification of religious beliefs about God within monotheism. The first module covers basic logic, arguments for design in the universe, cosmological arguments for the necessity of God’s existence, and the problem of evil. Further modules will be made available on demand, including ethics, science and religion, and philosophy of language. Reference will be made throughout to Islamic texts and sources as well as a range of European philosophers.

Status

AS level (after 2 years)

Prerequisites

None, but some experience of higher/further education an advantage.

Recommended
prior study

Any introductory texts on the philosophy of religion for A-level.

 

J.L. Mackie’s ‘The Miracle of Theism’ is a very thorough but relatively advanced textbook (easily available on Amazon). J. Hosper’s ‘Introduction to Philosophical Analysis’ is also useful.

Duration

September 2015 – May 2016, weekly

Context

The first in a series of modules leading to an AS level in Religious Studies (if required). The study of European philosophy is recommended for those wishing to understand the relation of Islam in Europe in the 21st century.

 

This course is designed to build up over 4 years to a comprehensive understanding of the full range of philosophical issues relating to Islam today.

Content summary

Introduction to philosophy as a discipline; logic and argument; the argument for design. Hume’s critique of the argument for design. The cosmological argument; Kant and transcendental arguments. The problem of evil and its solutions. The ‘freedom of the will’; deontological and teleological ethical theories. The limitations of scientific explanation and the ‘problem of knowledge’. The question of ‘miracles’ and ‘religious experience’. The role of Sufism in Islamic thought.

Learning outcomes

Basic level knowledge and understanding of logic, design and cosmological arguments and the problem of evil and various proposed solutions. Basic understanding of the relevance of European philosophy to Islamic beliefs and teachings and the ability to apply philosophical thinking to a range issues in theism. Basic level ability to evaluate different ways of thinking including scientific argument and the possibility of other ‘ways of knowing’.

Teaching and learning

Teaching will be by lecture and discussion according to the level and preferences of participants.

Assessment

Short, written assessments will be set regularly. This course will lead to AS Level Religious Studies after 2 years.

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