Phil 3600: Philosophy of Religion

Spring 2018

Course Syllabus

Schedule (subject to change!)

Below is a tentative schedule of what topics we will cover, and what reading(s) you should complete BEFORE each class meeting.

M, Jan 15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- No Class
Suggested Video: “I Have a Dream” speech

W, Jan 17

Lecture Topic: About this course—An Intro to Philosophy of Religion
Reading assignment: None

F, Jan 19

A Brief Intro to Philosophy, its Methods, and its Relation to Religion
Reread course syllabus

M, Jan 22

Thinking Critically and Avoiding Bias
Reading: Mike Huemer “Why People are Irrational about Politics
Suggested film: Idiocracy

W, Jan 24

Philosophy's Methods continued
Reread: Mike Huemer “Why People are Irrational about Politics

F, Jan 26

A Crash Course in Epistemology: Truth, Evidence and Knowledge
Reading:This Is Philosophy Chapter 7, part I (p. 223-246) 

M, Jan 29

A Crash Course in Logic (validity, soundness, etc.)
Reading: Pike "Logic Primer"
Suggested reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 

W, Jan 31

Epistemology: Knowledge and Sources of Justification
No new reading assigned.

F, Feb 2 Logic Review Day (Optional)
Reading: Pike "Logic Primer"
Suggested reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested TV show: “Sherlock” or “Elementary”

M, Feb 5

Justification, Scripture, and Evidence
No new reading

W, Feb 7 

The Idea and Attributes of God
Reading: Rowe "The Idea of God"

F, Feb 9 The Idea and Attributes of God- Continued
Reread Rowe "The Idea of God"
Humerous(?) Reading: Flying Spaghetti Monster
M, Feb 12

Rowe- The Idea of God (continued)

W, Feb 14

Arguments for God’s existence: Pragmatic Arguments-Pascal's Wager
Reading: Pascal "Pensées" (1669, excerpt)
Reading: Alan Hajek SEP Article Pascal's Wager(section 1-3)

F, Feb 16 Finish Pascal's Wager
Reading: finish Alan Hajek SEP (Section 4 to the end)

M, Feb 19

Ontological Argument
Reading: St. Anselm "Proslogion" (excerpt, 1077)
Gaunilo's reply "On Behalf of the Fool"
Anselms reply to Gaunilo

W, Feb 21

Ontological Argument: Responses
Readings: Kant: Critique of Pure Reason (excerpt)

F, Feb 23 Cosmological Argument
Reading: Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument”

M, Feb 26

Cosmological Argument: Responses
Reading: Mackie, “Critique of the Cosmological Argument.”

W, Feb 28

Topic and Reading TBA

F, Mar 2 **MID-TERM EXAM**

M, Mar 5

Teleological Argument
Reading William Paley- Natual Theology (excerpt)
Video (50min): Richard Dawkins The Blind Watch Maker

W, Mar 7

Teleological Argument: Fine-Tuning
Reading: Collins "The Fine-Tuning Design Argument"

F, Mar 9 Teleological Argument: Fine-Tuning Responses
Reading TBA
Video (4min): Richard Dawkins Darwinian Selection of Universes

M, Mar 12

Topics and Reading TBA

W, Mar 14

How to Write a Philosophy Paper

F,  Mar 16 Does Morality Require that God Exists?
Video: William Lane Craig vs Shelly Kagan Debate

M, Mar 19

Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro Dilemma-Is God the source of morality?
Reading: Shafer-Landau, “Does Ethical Objectivism Require God?”
Video: Sam Harris on God and Morality

W, Mar 21

Morality without God
Reading: Louise Antony, "Good without God"
Video: Craig vs Antony Debate

F, Mar 23 Topics and Reading TBA

M, Mar 26

Spring Break- no class

W, Mar 28

Spring Break- no class

F, Mar 30 Spring Break- no class

M, Apr 2

Arguments against God’s Existence: Attribute Puzzles

W, Apr 4

Arguments against God’s Existence: Arguments from Scriptures, Science

F, Apr 6 The Problem of Evil
Reading: Michael Tooley SEP Article on Problem of Evil
Suggested Video (50 min): Dawkins- The Root of All Evil

M, Apr 9

The Problem of Evil continued
Reading TBA

W, Apr 11

Problem of Evil- Objections and Responses
Reading: SEP section on Responses to Problem of Evil
Suggested film: “Star Trek T.N.G.: Q Who” (or any episode with Q)

F, Apr 13

The Problem of Evil Objections continued
Reading TBA

M, Apr 16

Problem of Evil- Replies to Objections and Responses
Reading TBA

W, Apr 18

Do we have Free Will?
Video: Sam Harris- Free Will(1hr- not required to watch Q&A)

F, Apr 20 Topic and Reading TBA

M, Apr 23

Afterlife? Can our minds survive death?
Reading: Patricia Churchland “What should we expect when theorizing about consciousness?”

W, Apr 25

God and the Meaning of Life
Reading: Craig "The Absurdity of Life without God"

F, Apr 27 Meaning of Life without God
Reading: Thomas Nagel "The Absurd"
Suggested film: “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”
M, Apr 30 More on the Meaning of Life
Reading: Susan Wolf, “Meaning in Life”
Strongly suggested film: “Meet Joe Black”
W, May 2 Topic and Reading TBA


on official day scheduled by Registrar’s office (Posted in your mycuinfo)



Additional Resources for Students

Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper (J. Pryor)
Writing Philosophy Essays (M. Tooley)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Oh the power of learning philosophy...

1/12/18: Time for the new semester! Materials for Spring 2018 courses are posted in the Courses/Teaching section.

5/6/16: I'm honored to be the first person to receive both the Philosophy Department Morriston Teaching Award (2016) and the University of Colorado Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Award (2014-2015)! My thanks go out to the many great teachers and students with whom I've been lucky enough to learn!

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