PP3REL-Philosophy of Religion

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Mr George Mason

Email: g.p.mason@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will introduce students to basic issues in the philosophy of religion.


The module will rely on the skills and knowledge acquired by students in the previous years and will offer them an in-depth look at some of the central issues in analytic philosophy of religion. This goal will be achieved by considering both contemporary contributions and their historical antecedents, which will be critically evaluated in lectures and seminars.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will gain a deep understanding of some of the major debates in contemporary philosophy of religions, they will be able to assess the tenability of the views defended in those debates and to evaluate the strength of the arguments for and against them. These goals will require further development of the knowledge and the analytical and dialectical skills acquired by students in the first two years of their studies, especially in the areas of analytic metaphysics, epistemology, philosop hy of language, and meta-ethics.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

Questions covered in the module will typically include:

Is the theistic conception of God coherent?

Can religious experience provide a justification for religious beliefs?

How can we talk about an allegedly transcendent being such as God?

Do we need to invoke a supernatural cause to have an ultimate explanation of the existence of the universe? Can that cause be identified with God?

To we need to invoke an intelligent creator to account for the orderliness and regularity of the world? Can that creator be identified with the deity that monotheistic religions are concerned with?

Are divine foreknowledge and human free will compatible?      

Does the existence of evil provide a case against the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God?

What is the relationship between God’s will and m oral norms?

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught by lectures and seminars. Students are expected to attend 10 hours of lectures and 5 hours of seminars during the term in which the module’s lecture and seminar classes take place. All students are required to write a single essay from a list of questions supplied by the module convenor. In addition, students will be required to write a short précis of the topic for discussion in each seminar class. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. A reading list and sample questions will be given out at the start of the course.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 5
Guided independent study: 85
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One written assignment, due in week 11 of the term in which the module is taught.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will write a short précis of the topic for discussion for every seminar class. Some classes may involve quizzes.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Written assignment, to be completed in August/September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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