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Philosophy of Religion MPhil Pathway


Philosophy of Religion MPhil Pathway

Michaelmas Term 2015

Philosophy of Religion I

Course Coordinator: Dr Jacob Sherman

Prerequisites: formal acceptance into the Philosophy of Religion strand of the MPhil is the normal requirement.

This foundation term in graduate Philosophy of Religion is designed to introduce students to a variety of different possible approaches to contemporary philosophy of religion.  In order to do so, the M.Phil. seminars in the Michaelmas Term attend to the diverse ways in which classical, analytic, continental, and various emerging philosophical schools approach one representative theme, this year the theme of ‘Nature and Divinity’.  Five successive seminars provide focussed readings for discussion, the opportunity to share and present work in progress, and build towards the production a 5,000 word culminating essay (the topic must be approved by the course instructor and the Degree Committee).  During the term students undertake several small preparatory pieces of work that develop particular graduate-level research skills, and feedback is provided from early in the term.

Seminar 1: Introduction to Nature and Divinity – Classical Sources

Seminar 2: Nature, Naturalism, and Religion

Seminar 3: Nature and the Challenge of Ontotheology

Seminar 4: Natural Theology

Seminar 5: Nature, Language, and Transcendence

Lent Term 2014

Philosophy of Religion II

Course Coordinators: Dr Douglas Hedley with Professor Catherine Pickstock

Prerequisites: Philosophy of Religion I is the normal requirement

4 seminars on central topics in contemporary Philosophy of Religion (with continuing reference to the different traditions introduced in Philosophy of Religion I) leading to an original critical research paper of 5,000 words, chosen from the topics set below.

Seminar 1, Truth

Seminar 2, The Gift and The Given

Seminar 3,  Reason and Revelation

Seminar 4,  God, Speech and Unknowing

Essay Topics:

1.    Either (a) What is the relation between the truth of things and truths in our mind according to Aquinas, and is this account coherent?

Or (b) Is it possible to have a theory of truth without reference to God?

2.     If ‘the given’ is a myth, then are we always confronted with reality as a gift?

3.    Are critiques of reason inherently bound up with concepts of revelation?

4.    What, if any, relation is there between human language and the knowability or unknowability of God?