PHIL 267 Introduction to Philosophy of Religion • 5 Cr.
Studies philosophical issues affecting the understanding of religion. Students assess the rationality of religious beliefs, miracles, and the existence of God.
After completing this class, students should be able to:
- recognize and use basic philosophic vocabulary (e.g., “omniscience,” “Natural Law Theory,” “agnosticism,” etc) in essays, short answer tests, or matching quizzes.
- recognize assess, and be able to use appropriate deductive and inductive argument strategies and tactics. For instance, students should be able to recognize an argument as being an informal fallacy, deductively valid, or inductively uncogent. Students, for example, should be able to be given a written passage containing an argument and point out the premises and the conclusion.
- distinguish good evidence for a position from bad evidence. For example, students should be able to explain in a one-page essay why a philosopher has failed to support his or her position on the issue of God’s existence.
- explain in an essay the arguments (i.e., evidence) for and against a specified position. For example, students should be able to write a four page take-home essay explaining the reasons for and against the position that it can be properly basic to believe that God exists.
- analyze philosophic concepts in writing. For example, students should be able to give an analysis of concepts such as Immortality, Nirvana, or Brahman. Analyses should include an adequate definition and considerations of potential counterexamples.
- accurately and informatively explain the topics discussed by the philosophers studied. For instance, students studying Thomas Aquinas should be able to write a two-page essay explaining what he means and how he defends himself when he argues God’s existence by appealing to the existence of contingent beings.
- identify, distinguish, and explain the different schools of thought in Philosophy of Religion (e.g., natural theology, natural atheology, agnosticism, pragmatism). This may be assessed via short answer tests.
- write argumentative essays containing clear thesis claims, strong arguments for the theses, reasonable consideration of opposing views, and conforming to the presentation/writing standards set forth in the BCC Philosophy Writing Guidelines.
- demonstrate in written essays how the philosophers studied in class effect and are effected by their historical era and culture.
- demonstrate in written essays how different ethical traditions relate to one another. For instance, students should be able to write an essay describing the differences between traditions that emphasize internal and external mystical experience.