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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PRHS5085M Concepts of God

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Scott Shalkowski

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will explore philosophical issues concerning the concept of God, arising not only from properties ascribed to God in traditional theism, but also revisionary concepts of the divine and theistic language.Representative themes include:- God as Creator of all things, and the notion of creation- An omnipresent God, and theories of space and spatial occupancy- The divine source of goodness, and responses to the ‘Euthyphro’ dilemma- Divine and human freedom, and the issues raised by libertarian conceptions of freewill- Eternal God: the relationship of God to time- 'Worthy of worship': the idea of God as a proper object of worship and of prayer- The necessity of God: different understandings of the doctrine that God is a necessary being- The language of theism: realist versus non-realist approaches to religious discourse- Personal God versus 'the ground of being'- A finite God: dispensing with (some of) the traditional divine attributes


Students taking this module will learn how to:
- Apply the tools of concepts of philosophical analysis to theistic belief
- Appreciate how debates in contemporary metaphysics relate to an understanding of the traditional divine attributes

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students will have a detailed and critical appreciation of key themes in contemporary philosophy of religion such as:
- The attributes associated with the ‘God of the philosophers’
- Connections between metaphysical debates over such topics as causality, space, time and necessity one the one hand and the philosophy of theism on the other
- Revisionary conceptions of God and of religious language


The module will engage with a variety of writings from the mid-20th century to the present. Key thinkers and themes will include:
- Richard Swinburne, and the defence of traditional theism within a metaphysical conception of the world which is, to a large extent, consistent with our ordinary conceptual scheme
- Hud Hudson, and a defence of traditional theism within a revisionary metaphysics
- Brian Leftow, and the conception of God as both timeless and the source of modality (the necessary and the possible)
- Don Cupitt, and ‘non-realist’ approaches to religious discourse
- Charles Hartshorne, and the idea of a finite, developing God, as a response to, among other things, the problem of evil

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
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 provide feedback on an essay plan and bibliography for the essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay5000 words90.00
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: 29/04/2024 16:19:43


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