PHIL 281
Philosophy of Religion Spring 2010
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed REL 302
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Class Details

Our goal in this course will be to try to determine how far reason can justify belief in God. We will spend at least half of the semester examining the best-known philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God (including the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the argument from religious experience, the argument from evil, and the argument from religious disagreement). For each one, we will first look at historically important formulations of the argument and then turn to contemporary reformulations. Our aim will be to identify and then evaluate the strongest version of each argument. After working through these arguments, we will reflect more generally on the proper roles of reason and faith in justifying religious belief. In the final section of the course, we shall examine the relationship between god and morality. Authors will include Plato, Anselm, Aquinas, Pascal, Paley, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Freud, Marx, and several contemporary philosophers.
The Class: Format: tutorial; students meet with instructor in pairs for an hour each week; emphasis will be placed on developing skills in reading, interpretation and oral argument as well as critical reasoning and writing
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3024
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: each student will write a 5- to 6-page paper every other week (6 in all); comment on his or her tutorial partner's paper in alternate weeks
Prerequisites: Philosophy 101 or 102, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: current and prospective Philosophy majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PHIL 281 Division II REL 302 Division II
Attributes: REL Body of Theory Courses

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