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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHIL2631 God, Thought and the World: Topics in Philosophy of Religion

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Scott Shalkowski

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

PHIL2532 Philosophy of Religion

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines some of the most important philosophical considerations that bear on rational (dis-)belief in God and includes discussions of common arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as the examination of quite general conditions on rational belief.


Students taking this module will explore the nature of God, religious belief/knowledge/ experience, and the extent to which philosophy can help us assess whether God exists and God’s relation to the world. This module will cover central questions, such as:

* What is required for knowledge or rational belief?
* If God exists, what is God like? Or would God’s existence and nature be unknowable?
* What could constitute evidence of God’s existence?
* Can religious experience rather than rational argument or philosophical enquiry provide adequate evidence of God’s existence?
* Religious diversity, alternative concepts of God, and their significance for religious belief and practice.
* The relationship between God and the world.

Lectures will guide students through the main issues, questions and arguments, which students will then be able to explore in more detail in seminars, to develop their own view about the issues explored.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

1. Accurately identify and explain some significant points of contention or debate in the philosophy of religion;

2. Critically analyse arguments central to the philosophy of religion;

3. Coherently develop and defend your own position on issues in the philosophy of religion.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:

4. Communicate ideas and understanding clearly and concisely, using appropriate academic language (Academic and Work Ready skill)

5. Critically analyse source material and demonstrate independence of thought (Academic and Work Ready skill)

6. Search for appropriate material to support knowledge and analysis of topics (Academic, Work Ready, Digital and Sustainability skill)

7. Conform to standards of academic integrity including when and how to appropriately acknowledge someone else’s work (Academic and Work Ready skill)


This module will introduce several issues in contemporary philosophy of religion, with an emphasis on metaphysical and epistemological issues. Topics could include, for example, the nature of religion, realistic and anti-realistic interpretations of religious discourse, divine attribute, the nature of religious faith, evidentialism, traditional theistic and atheistic arguments as well as contemporary versions of those arguments, and the significance of religious diversity.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative assessment in this module is designed to facilitate (i) differentiated instruction, (ii) active student reflection on skills development, (iii) student self-assessment, and (iv) student choice. 

In addition to the formative feedback available to students in office hours and seminar-based activities—in which students may test their comprehension of module materials by way of prepared answers to set questions and by asking questions of their respective tutors—students are invited to complete one piece of formative work which will receive written feedback.

In this module, students are given three options: an-essay plan; an exposition of a philosophical argument, or an objection and reply, whichever students deem most suitable for their respective needs when preparing for the submission of item(s) for summative assessment.

By giving students a choice, this formative assessment takes account of variations in prior knowledge and skill development, and it enables the instructor to respond to students’ individual needs. It also builds students’ academic self-conception and encourages them to take ownership over their intellectual development. To do this, and to ensure that students get the formative feedback they need, each student is required to select an option after writing a critical reflection on the skills that they judge they most need to work on. They are asked to read and reflect on (i) the feedback they received in previous summative assessments, (ii) the PRHS marking criteria for their upcoming summative assessment, and (iii) the specific guidance provided on the summative assessment in this module. They are then required to submit their chosen formative work accompanied by a 100–300-word reflective log explaining the choice they have made. This exercise builds critical reflection into the module. It requires that students engage with previous feedback, think about current expectations, and take an active role in honing their knowledge and skill development.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000-word essay100.00
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: 29/04/2024 16:19:43


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