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2018/19 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PRHS5075M Philosophy and Spiritual Practice

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Prof Mark Wynn
Email: m.wynn@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module - which is taught online - will use philosophical methods to examine the nature of spiritual and religious traditions, and what they might teach us about human nature, and human possibilities in the present. Representative themes include:- How might different world views, both secular and religious, inform our conception of the nature of a worthwhile human life?- What role should be played in the spiritual life by 'attention' or contemplation?- How are we to understand the relationship between the different vocabularies that can be used to describe the spiritual life and growth in the spiritual life – e.g. those of metaphysics and experience?- How might a conception of ‘the sacred’ deepen or demean a human life?- To what extent can traditional theistic virtues be grounded in secular stories or frameworks of significance?- How might enacted example inform our conception of the nature of the good human life?- How should we understand the role of the arts in sustaining particular forms of spiritual or religious practice?- What is the significance for the spiritual life of the idea that fundamental reality is mysterious or ineffable?- How might relationship to the natural world be important for the spiritual life?- How should we think of religious faith, and what significance should we assign to the idea that faith is voluntary, and underdetermined by the evidence?

Objectives

Students taking this module will learn how:
- To articulate with appropriate rigour and depth the relationship between a range of world views and associated conceptions of the good human life
- To understand and evaluate with critical insight the role of the arts and relationship to nature in sustaining various kinds of spiritual practice
- To understand with appropriate critical depth the goals of various spiritual practices, and their significance for different conceptions of religious faith
- To review and critically assess various accounts of the importance for the spiritual life of the emotions and perception of the everyday world
- To appreciate the relationship between the different vocabularies that may be used to describe the spiritual life and growth in the spiritual life, for instance those of metaphysics and enacted example

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students will have a detailed and critical appreciation of key themes such as:
- the relationship between world views and associated conceptions of the good human life
- the role of the arts and relationship to nature in sustaining spiritual practices
- the goals of various spiritual practices, and their significance for different conceptions of religious faith
- the importance for the spiritual life of the emotions and perception of the everyday world
- the relationship between the different vocabularies that may be used to describe the spiritual life and growth in the spiritual life


Syllabus

The module will engage with a variety of historical and contemporary commentators and movements. Representative authors and themes include:
- Pierre Hadot on 'philosophy as a way of life'
- Janet Soskice's critique of 'received spirituality'
- Thomas Aquinas and John of the Cross's account of the spiritual life and progress in the spiritual life
- Anthony O’Hear on the relationship between metaphysical schemes and differing views of the significance of a human life
- John Cottingham on the attempt to produce secular counterparts for theistic virtues
- Raimond Gaita's account of the role of lived example in 'revealing' fundamental values
- George Pattison on the importance of aesthetic experience for spiritual traditions
- David Cooper on the role of 'mystery' in sustaining a conception of the good human life
- Erazim Kohák’s understanding of the relationship between religious experience and experience of nature
- Sarah Coakley on the relationship between emotional orientation and spiritual insight

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
e-Lecture11.001.00
Team Work101.0010.00
Discussion forum112.0022.00
Private study hours267.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Informal assessment of student progress via contributions to the reflective log as necessary.
Summative assessment of contributions to the discussion forums.
The tutor will also view, and provide feedback on, an essay plan and bibliography for each of the two essays.
The two essays will be summatively assessed, with the second, longer essay being more heavily weighted.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEssay 1 - 3000 words30.00
EssayEssay 2 - 5000 words60.00
Group DiscussionSeminar contributions across the semester10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

A student re-sitting the discussion forum will be required to submit a single piece of work of 5 x 500 words in the summer.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 05/04/2019

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