PHIL 3032 - Philosophy of Religion

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

Most people, historically and today, have religious beliefs of one kind or another. Those beliefs are often deeply important to their holders, providing the framework for their entire worldview. In this course, we will investigate a number of issues about religious worldviews ? about their content (Is religious language to be taken literally or metaphorically? What is the nature of God and its attributes?), as well as about their reasonableness (Are there good arguments for or against the existence of God? Do we have good evidence for belief in God ? and what is good evidence anyway?). The focus of the course will be on the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), which share similar conceptions of the role of God and its nature. The course welcomes students both with and without religious commitments, and is run in a spirit of respectful yet rigorous inquiry.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHIL 3032
    Course Philosophy of Religion
    Coordinating Unit Philosophy
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II study, including 3 units of Philosophy.
    Incompatible PHIL 2044
    Course Description Most people, historically and today, have religious beliefs of one kind or another. Those beliefs are often deeply important to their holders, providing the framework for their entire worldview. In this course, we will investigate a number of issues about religious worldviews ? about their content (Is religious language to be taken literally or metaphorically? What is the nature of God and its attributes?), as well as about their reasonableness (Are there good arguments for or against the existence of God? Do we have good evidence for belief in God ? and what is good evidence anyway?). The focus of the course will be on the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), which share similar conceptions of the role of God and its nature. The course welcomes students both with and without religious commitments, and is run in a spirit of respectful yet rigorous inquiry.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Antony Eagle

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Display an awareness of the main philosophical debates in contemporary philosophy regarding the nature of and existence of God in the Abrahamic religions, and about the nature and rationality of religious belief.
    2. Understand and be in a position to articulate several philosophical theories taking a position in the debates over the issues mentioned above.
    3. Analyse texts from contemporary and historical philosophers of religion and extract the relevant arguments from them, and be able to expound those arguments both in written form and in oral presentations (individual and/or group).
    4. Evaluate an argument by a philosopher of religion (as valid, or sound), providing appropriate grounds.
    5. Identify and use relevant evidence to provide reasons for and against the adoption of various theories about religious belief, its content and rationality, and to then evaluate the tenability of those theories
    6. Present a sustained argumentative case in written form for or against particular theories about the nature of God and religious belief, addressing potential counterarguments and objections.
    7. Be able to absorb and re-present knowledge obtained in peer interaction in a concise and accurate fashion, in large and small group contexts.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1–6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3–6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3, 6, 7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1, 2
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The required text is:

    Graham Oppy and Michael Scott (eds.), Reading Philosophy of Religion, Wiley-Blackwell 2010, 978-1-4051-7081-9.

    Additional readings will be made available through an electronic reading list distributed through MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is taught by a mixture of lecture and whole-class workshops (separately timetabled for flexibility). The lecture component includes informal class discussion and active learning elements. It is proposed to structure the workshop component as a ‘jigsaw’ classroom, where the class is divided into three large groups who discuss questions set in advance (different questions for each group) for 20 minutes, then divide into groups of three, each containing one representative from each of the initial groups, to share the results of those group discussions. This is dependent on student engagement.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    WorkloadTotal Hours per semester
    Structured Learning
    1 x 2 hour lecture per week 24
    1 x 1 hour workshop, 10 per semester 10
    Self-directed Learning
    Required reading (6 hours per week) 72
    Research (2 hours per week) 24
    Assignment preparation (2 hours per week) 24
    TOTAL 156
    ​
    Learning Activities Summary
    After an introductory lecture, the course is divided into three main parts:

    1. Does God exist? [3 lectures]
    2. Is faith rational? [4 lectures]
    3. The divine attributes [4 lectures]
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Small group discovery is incorporated into weekly workshops, where after initial larger group discussions, students break out into groups of three or four to share the results of that larger group discussions, and learn from peers about the results of discussions in other groups. (Groups are set different topics, so the small break out groups is a place for students not in a group to learn from peers about the content discussed in that group.) These activities build skills in accurate recording, summarisation, presentation, and communication, and are student led in terms of focus and content. The lecturer roams the workshop meeting with each group individually to take note of discussion and to suggest questions for further discussion.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    ASSESSMENT TASKTASK TYPEWEIGHTINGCOURSE LEARNING OUTCOME(S)
    Short Essay Summative/Formative 30% 1–6
    Research Essay Summative/Formative 55% 1–6
    Small group discovery tasks Formative/Summative 15% 1–5, 7
    ​
    Assessment Detail
    Short Essay
    Essay of ~1500 words covering a topic from the first part of the course. Essays will be expected to focus on prescribed course material. 25% weighting.
    Research Essay
    Essay of ~3000 words covering a topic from the course, or by negotiation. Essays will be expected to go beyond prescribed course material and will require further research. 55% weighting.
    Small group discovery tasks
    Students engage in interaction with peers in both small and large groups, including answering prior set questions online, discussing answers with group, taking note of large group discussion, presenting large group discussion results to small group, etc. Evaluated over the course of the semester. 20% weighting.
    Submission

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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