Topics in the Philosophy of Religion

The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
05 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA VV56 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics,
BA VV57 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Placement Year),
BA VV58 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV59 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV5P Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module homes in on the relationships between faith and reason, religion and philosophy. We shall approach these topics, historically, by considering how they were discussed by some key figures in nineteenth-century European philosophy.

We shall begin with Kant’s rejection of traditional arguments for the existence of God, and his positive emphasis on both the moral dimension of religious belief and the possibility of a distinctively philosophical approach to religion. We shall then consider how these ideas were taken up in Hegel’s attempts to reconcile faith and reason, religion and philosophy. Finally, we shall look at some critical perspectives in the work of Feuerbach, Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To introduce students to some of the major philosophical debates about the nature of religion.

  • To provoke critical reflection on the relationships of religion and philosophy, faith and reason.

  • To advance understanding of modern European philosophy, especially German Idealism and its critics.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant

  2. Seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information

  3. Process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments

  4. Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure

  5. Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications

  6. Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them

  7. Think 'laterally' and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches

  8. Maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position if shown wrong

  9. Think critically, independently and constructively

Module information

Study Abroad students should have already taken two philosophy modules at their home institution.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • a combination of lectures and seminar per week, totalling three hours.

There will also be Reading Week when no teaching will take place, exact week to be confirmed


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay Plan (2 pages)    35% 
Coursework   Essay (2500 words)    50% 
Practical   Moodle Quizzes TOTAL (2 of 3)    15% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Daniel Watts, email:



External examiner

Dr Josiah Saunders
Durham University
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 667 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
631 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
36 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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