Philosophy and Religion
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
06 September 2023
Requisites for this module
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)
Have you ever tried to discredit a belief by pointing out its backstory? "You only believe that because you grew up in W!" or "You only believe that because you have traits X, Y, or Z!" Philosophers call this a Genealogical Debunking Argument (GDA), because it aims to undermine some belief by describing its origin. GDAs exert significant influence in the philosophy of religion.
Historically, figures like Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud wielded these arguments to great effect; and today one regularly encounters naturalistic GDAs, e.g., "You only believe in God because have a 'god-shaped hole' in your brain", or "Your belief in God is just a by-product of our evolutionary history." But are these arguments any good? That's the question we will explore in this module.
The aims of this module are:
- To develop knowledge and understanding of classic texts pertaining to existentialism and religion
- To develop knowledge and understanding of key debates regarding the relationship between existentialism and religion
- To explain and critically discuss the central concepts that inform the discussion these debates
- To develop one's own position on whether the human predicament as it is elucidated by existentialism calls for an atheistic or religious response
By the end of the module, students will be expected to be able to:
- Define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant
- Seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information
- Process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments
- Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure
- Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications
- Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them
- Think 'laterally' and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches
- Maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position if shown wrong; think critically and constructively
Erasmus/IP students must have already taken an introductory module in Philosophy at their home institution.
There will be one hour of lecture and two hours of seminar each week. There will also be a 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
||Moodle Quizzes TOTAL
||Essay Plan (2 pages)
||2000 word essay
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.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Matthew Burch, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHAIS General Office - 6.130; email@example.com.
Dr Josiah Saunders
Available via Moodle
Of 1217 hours, 55 (4.5%) hours available to students:
1162 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 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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