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2016/17 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC5320M Science and Religion Historically Considered

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Chris Kenny

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2016/17

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

If the module recruits three or fewer students, it will be delivered via 3 hours of supervision with the module leader (instead of the format specified below).


On completion of this module students will have developed an adequate knowledge of a number of historical topics at the intersection of science and religion, such as the Galileo Affair and responses to Darwin's theory. Students will be conversant with a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Moreover, they will possess a critical understanding of the various theses that have been advanced to account for the inter-relation between science and religion, especially the widely canvassed 'conflict thesis'. They will also be able to use the historical material discussed in the module to evaluate these. From an appreciation of the history of science and religion, they will be able to make informed and critical responses to contemporary discussions of the subject.


In this module a number of case studies will be presented which illustrate some of the main ways in which science and religion have interrelated since the 'scientific revolution' of the 17th century. Close attention will be paid in each case study to the specific historical circumstances. The material presented in these cases will also be used to critically evaluate general claims that have be made about the science-religion interaction, such as the widely canvassed 'conflict thesis'. The Galileo Affair and responses to Darwin's theory of evolution are two of the best known topics, in both cases the research has provided new and challenging interpretations. Among the other topics to be discussed are the implications of the mechanical philosophy of the 17th century, the Quaker movement in science and current controversies over asceticism (as advocated by Richard Dawkins et al). As well as weekly lectures students will participate in a weekly seminar directed to major problems in each of the topic areas covered in the lectures.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

2 x 3,000 word essays

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayTwo essays of 3,000 words each weighted 50% of total assessment.100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/10/2016


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